Alessandro Fancellu: summers in Aprica, Mortirolo’s dreams and now culinary skills

At the age of 19, Italian Alessandro Fancellu had begun to make a name for himself after his performance on the last Tour de Antalya. In the Turkish race, the Lombard rider fought for victory in the queen’s stage and finally finished third overall. Fancellu, bronze medalist at the junior World Championships in Innsbruck, had started his season a little later than expected due to a crash in the early days of 2020, about to start the second pre-season training camp in Oliva Nova.

Fancellu lives immersed in the routines of indoor training and domestic activities own and derived from these times of forced confinement due to measures taken by governments to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Like many kids his age, he spends some of his time playing video games. But these weeks at home are also allowing him to develop his skills in the kitchen.  He’s a very quiet, shy, quiet boy.

“Now in this period that we are at home I like to cook. Time goes by and you don’t notice it. And it relaxes me. I have dared to make desserts and cakes, also other dishes, which we all eat at home. I eat too, of course, but little; we can’t be careless with the weight,” he laughs.

About her daily routine, Fance admits that monotony generates boredom, although it’s absolutely necessary. “It’s a bit hard to be confined, training focused on the roller and not being able to do anything else. In the mornings I exercise following Carlos Barredo’s planning. And then, it depends on the days, how they evolve. Today (in reference to the day of this interview, during last Easter) I cook a little. Some other time I might start playing with the PlayStation. I like motorbike or car videogames and lately I play more the Need for Speed. I also do some housework, cleaning and tidying up. Stuff like that. Right now cycling is the least important thing. There are a lot of people who are suffering from the coronavirus. We just have to stay home. It might be a little hard. But it’s not impossible”.

The pandemic and its evolution is an issue that concerns him and in which he is interested. A relative of Alessandro’s, a cousin, Mara Bianchi, is working with the Red Cross at this time of great emotional intensity. “Mara is volunteering there, she is using her time to help the people who may need it most and she does it altruistically. I love it. I am proud of her”.

About the development of his season in the Kometa-Xstra, Fancellu makes a very good reading of his six days of official competition. “Before the arrival of the quarantine the season had started well. Already in the Vuelta a Murcia, which was my first race, I felt very well and it gave me a lot of morale to travel to Antalya. In Turkey we started with Márton as leader so I always tried to be close to him to help him in everything. At the end of the stage at Termessos, when I saw that the group was still too big halfway up the hill, I started to push hard to make a selection. But we were only five riders ahead and it was already a question of fighting to the end. In the last stage, thanks to all the team-mates, we were able to defend our place on the podium. A very important place”.

“The dynamics of the team was certainly upwards. The state of alarm and the postponement of the races slowed it down in the dry and completely covered up the season. In this context, the return to competition will not be easy”, he says. For the moment, one of Fancellu’s main objectives for this year, the Giro d’Italia U23, is still scheduled for 13 to 23 June. In January, in declarations to Tuttobici, the rider had already highlighted this race within his calendar for a double reason: “It has a stage at Lake Como, in my house, and it arrives at Aprica, where my mother is from and the place where I learned to love the bike”.

The place where he learned to love the bicycle. The origin of a passion. Monia della Moretta, his mother, was born in Aprica. And so many family summers took place in the iconic town of La Valtellina. “One summer I remember driving with my parents and we passed a point where you could see perfectly the road that went up to the Mortirolo. There was a conversation about the climb. ‘One day I’m going to do it myself on a bike’, I said to my father. And a week later, without training, I was with a mountain bike ready to climb it. I did it on Mazzo di Valtellina’s side. I stopped a couple of times, of course, but I got on it. My father told me that it would be good to see how he had climbed in some races, so we looked on Youtube and we were watching the climb of Marco Pantani in the 1992 Giro. I loved it. At the time I thought I wanted to try and do the same. And that’s why I started cycling”.

And to this day. His career in the lower categories has already led him to compete against one of the great names in cycling today, no doubt from a media prism: Remco Evenepoel. The Belgian was world champion in Innsbruck, where the Italian took bronze, jumped straight to the World Tour in 2019 and in these two seasons he has already amassed ten professional victories including classics and one-week laps of the World Tour or continental titles against the clock. Surprised? “Of course. We knew he was very strong, but I didn’t think he would be that strong among the pros anymore. But in the end this also gives us all morale, because it means that the level of the juniors was and is high. If he’s already a winner, a champion, in a way it also means that the others were doing pretty well too”.

(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)

? Atila Madrona (1 y 3)
? Nick Doup / Wielerflits (2 y 4)