The first Giro d’Italia of a lifetime, a dream come true, something chased for a lifetime and now finally real. The last Giro d’Italia of a lifetime, a chapter that closes and a story that ends to make way for something different. That’s what this Giro will be for Diego Sevilla, who grew up in Fundacion Contador and is now a professional with the EOLO KOMETA jersey, and for Francesco Gavazzi, who after 18 years on the roads announced his retirement at the end of the season.
Two such different stories that will live side by side, and that together will be told: and after all, this is the beauty of sport, the beauty of cycling, the beauty of life.
Diego’s first time
Diego Pablo Sevilla (San Martín de la Vega, 1996) has had EOLO KOMETA confirm his debut in a Grand Tour this season. A Giro d’Italia that means a lot to the team and, of course, to him. “I’m very excited and I’m looking forward to it, although there comes a time when that feeling also appears-not of worry, but of thinking and trying to anticipate the news that will come very soon.” And it is that, although the temperament and calmness that Diego Pablo’s personality conveys allow him to keep his pleasant smile, steady nerves are also needed.
“So many days of racing, three weeks…there will be a lot of new things to deal with and you have to prepare yourself to be the first time in a Grand Tour,” Sevilla acknowledges. The list of goals and challenges the rider himself sets are ambitious: “Of course, I want to arrive at the end of the race, in Rome, with the illusion of contributing to the team, enjoying the race and being useful for what they want from me.” Serving the leaders of EOLO KOMETA but also with the ambition to be a protagonist: “I want to feel useful, to be seen, to give visibility to the team and to feel that the race is not too big for me, that I can contribute.”
There is no doubt about how special it is to participate in the Giro d’Italia. But it also applies to the whole project of the Alberto Contador Foundation, which has seen the cyclist grow in its structure. “I have competed with this team since the junior category. In the same facility where you grew and evolved, along with the team, comes the opportunity to be a professional and finally compete in a Grand Tour. What more can I ask for?”
But growth, all the way down, has a lot to do with planning and doing things well. For this reason, Diego Pablo Sevilla deserved this opportunity and has been working on it with great determination: “I prepared well for the Giro. After Sanremo, I went to concentrate at altitude in Sierra Nevada to be well in Sicily. I wanted to go to the Giro d’Italia, deserving with my road performances this place in the lineup. After those races in Italy, I saw that I had a lot of possibilities, that I was working on the right path. The work was done well, and you can see that if you don’t make mistakes and falter eventually the opportunity comes.”
It will be the first Grand Tour for Diego Pablo Sevilla and the last for Francesco Gavazzi. “He is a very experienced rider who I hope to learn from,” says the Spanish cyclist. And he is right, as he has more than 10 three-week races in his legs and also a stage win at the Vuelta: “He has a lot of experience, I’m sure he will give a great contribution to all of us in the race. I hope to pay attention to details, I will rely on him when I have doubts and he is a key pillar for EOLO KOMETA, especially in this kind of race.” These are all positive words for a rider who is nearing the end of his sporting career. “If it is his last Grand Tour, I want to enjoy it with him, although each in a different way,” explains Diego Pablo.
All that remains is to hope that everything goes well. May it be the first of many others for the rider: “I want to enjoy the Giro d’Italia, it’s my first Grand Tour but I don’t want to suffer the last days that will be very hard, I want to finish with good feelings and also be in contention for the contention of some stages.” We will see him there.
Gava’s last time out
A lifelong career, a professional career turning 18: many, and full of stories and memories. A wonderful career that will come to a close at the end of this year and in a few days will experience the beauty of the Giro d’Italia: the eighth, the last. Francesco Gavazzi is a man of few words, a character that reflects his origins and a land like Valtellina: hard and rugged, sincere and fascinating. Tough character and quiet generosity, always at the service of his teammates.
It’s off to the Giro, and a little bit Gava expected it… “Yes, I expected the Giro call-up because I’ve been working well since the beginning of the year and especially I’ve been working very well in the last few weeks in the mountains. I went up to the Teide specifically to get to May at the top of my game, so yes: I expected that. And, yes: I feel ready.” A Giro that will see Gavazzi wearing the captain’s stripes: “Yes, my role will definitely be to manage the team in the peloton, to bring my experience to bear in support of Albanese and Fortunato. However, this does not mean that I will go to the Giro to just be an extra: I will be there, and I will definitely try to take advantage of the breakaway days.”
Albanese and Fortunato: they are the two spearheads of the team, and they are the ones who will try to score a victory. Possible? “Both Alba and Fortu have the legs to win a stage, and they have proven it in these last races. Of course, legs are not enough because to win a stage in the Giro and in cycling you also need some luck. No need to give advice except this: stay calm and ride serene but bad, at the right moments.”
Let’s look back a bit, to the Giri d’Italia of the past. What is the best memory related to this race? “The most beautiful memory linked to the Giro was the stage that I came close to two years ago, the Foggia-Guardia Sanframondi when I finished second … and it was a personal revenge. However, the Giro of 2021 is also linked to the ugliest memory: at Perugia-Montalcino, the dirt stage, I had the right leg and really felt victory within reach but unfortunately I fell through no fault of my own a few kilometers from the finish. There, that is really a huge regret.”
We looked back, let’s try to look forward: what does Gavazzi expect from his last Giro d’Italia? “Two wishes. I want the team to win a stage. And I want to try to experience a few star days myself.” To close a long and beautiful story really well.” And a word of advice to Diego Sevilla, who is about to start the first Giro d’Italia of his life? “I know Diego and I know that he is a great professional: he knows perfectly what he has to do and he deserved to be at this start. I have only one piece of advice for him: enjoy it all. Because the first Grand Tour of your career is something special, something unforgettable, something unique.”