Giacomo Pedranzini, Kometa’s CEO, tells his story: “We transmit our values through cycling: we will be at the Giro thanks to our perseverance”.
Roots. If there is one word that comes to mind when talking to Giacomo Pedranzini – Kometa’s CEO – it is this. Roots. There is no thought, no answer, no image that does not refer to this simple word: roots. The roots that are needed to stay firm, the roots that are needed to live, the roots that are needed to keep your feet on the ground, the roots that never let you forget where you come from and take you deep inside. Three years ago, Kometa decided to link its name to a project: that of a cycling team that would be able to transmit the values and peculiarities of its name. Today, the initial project has grown thanks to the arrival of an important brand like Eolo: but the initial idea has remained the same.
“They have been three very challenging and difficult years,” says Giacomo Pedranzini, “especially the last one. But they have also been three years in which we have confirmed the objectives we had set ourselves. We probably could have done better, we probably didn’t devote as much time and energy to this project as we should have, but we put everything we could into it: from every point of view. We set ourselves a path, we went the way we wanted to go”.
Let’s tell the story of this journey.
A journey that began four years ago. For more than a year I tried to avoid meeting Ivan Basso because I knew that if I met him I would risk not being able to say no to him and I would be embarking on something bigger than us. Because I liked Ivan as an athlete and so I was afraid I might also like the project he was proposing to me and the dream that went with it.
Then…then unfortunately I met him. And when I met him, I focused on what we could have done, I understood how his idea would have been useful for Kometa. And it was a spark, which we put together in two words: HonestFood.
Two words, behind which lies a whole world…
Two words behind which is our world. There’s our way of living what we do and of being a company, there’s our desire to offer a model of living and eating that is healthy but at the same time affordable for everyone. Honesty: if a food is honest, it can only do good. Because it doesn’t tell lies, it doesn’t look for shortcuts, it doesn’t hide anything. That’s what we wanted to say, and the cycling team could really be the right vehicle.
And was it?
We found what we were looking for. First of all, we found the right people: Ivan, but also Fran and Alberto Contador. I’m happy with the way we’ve dealt with these years, starting with the way we’ve handled the difficulties.
And how did you communicate your HonestFood model?
We were able to convey it and put it in a position to stand on its own two feet. A decisive factor was our meeting with Valerio De Molli, with whom we started a common path on food and beverage issues. The theme of HonestFood has become central, so much so that together we will organise a dedicated forum in Bormio, in our own Valtellina. An ambitious idea, which De Molli has renamed ‘the Cernobbio of Food’.
And what does cycling have to do with this?
Food means health, healthy living. So sport, and a sport like cycling, has a lot to do with it: indeed, it is an integral part of the idea.
This year, something has changed. The arrival of an entrepreneur like Luca Spada and his Eolo have made a decisive leap in quality…
With Luca Spada a leader has arrived. Because he was able to bring that extra energy that this project needed: I’m happy that he took on the role of leader of this project because we had reached the limit of our strength and possibilities. We have kept all the commitments we made, and this is a source of pride: but a change was needed, and we needed a decisive guide like the one Luca has now taken on.
And now, how is the project changing?
Eolo and Kometa are two companies that share the same values, because Luca Spada and I share the same vision and fixed points: when these premises are in place, things usually go well. And I am convinced that the next three years will consolidate our project and exponentially increase our visibility. The hope is that the team will also gradually start to talk about itself thanks to the successes, the emotions conveyed and the values defended.
That’s it, the values. What are your values?
Those of a mountain farmer who, not by his own choice, stopped going to school at the age of ten. A farmer who used to repeat the following phrase to his children: “Words fly, example leads”. A mountain farmer whose name was Ernesto, and who was our father.
He passed on to us three fundamental values and one quality. Honesty. Maximum commitment to our work. Professionalism. In that order, because honesty is the basic condition, commitment is necessary and professionalism comes as a consequence …
He said three values and one quality! He only told us about the values…
The quality is the one that costs me the most effort, and it is called kindness. You can be a bit harsh, you can sometimes be a bit rough, it’s normal: but kindness means living well with others, it means being open to those around you. It means respecting the simplest people. These are the lessons our father left us.
And how did he leave you these lessons?
By example, by taking us from our youth to work in the fields or in the alpine pastures with him, by living. Schools of life, which require effort to attend, but which leave an indelible mark on life.
What do you expect from the EOLO-KOMETA team?
I would like our team to always be recognised as a positive example, as a bearer of optimism and morality in a society that unfortunately over the last thirty years has experienced a steady decline culminating in the devastating experience of the pandemic. We are at a time in history when there is a great need for positive examples, for trust, for silent impulses to commit everyone to the utmost to rebuild on top of the rubble. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but sometimes you can exaggerate, can’t you? And then I expect the team to help us communicate our HonestFood.
The team will be at the Giro d’Italia… it’s a wonderful opportunity to get known and communicate…
And we’re very happy about that. Again, I’m talking about our father who had hard work and perseverance as models of life, as well as honesty: I think this is what brought us to the Giro. Last year was very difficult, for the team and for the Fundacion Contador: but we persevered, we honoured every commitment, the athletes gave up a slice of their pay and someone in the staff or at the top of the organisation gave up a slice of their money. We persevered, all of us together: this perseverance laid the foundations for Luca Spada’s arrival and for this important step. A step we were able to take because we resisted and persevered!
One word: Valtellina.
Our land. Our roots. Our past and our present. Kometa’s way of being: we mountaineers are a bit closed off and rough, but we are always committed to the commitments we take on, we are not afraid of hard work. This is the inheritance that generations and generations of Valtellinesi have left us, and it’s nice that Valtellina also contributes directly and effectively to this project: cycling has written wonderful pages in its mountains, Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador have achieved wonderful victories and feats. Everything comes back: and everything has its roots in the past. A past that I’d like to see told a little more about.
To whom and by whom?
To our children and young people, from school. Our great-grandparents, our grandparents, our mothers and fathers, and I’m not just talking about the people of Valtellina, but all Italians, have given us something great: freedom and well-being. And it is a pity that schools do not talk about it enough, that they do not pass it on, that they do not teach about our past so that it is honoured and never forgotten.
Honesty, indeed: HonestFood. It’s all written here…
We decided to write these words on our cyclists’ uniforms, on our cars and on our bus. And I believe that in order to link the word ‘honesty’ to a cycling team, as well as to your own work, you need some courage, but above all you need a very strong conviction in the message you want to transmit. We have faith in our values, we are certain of their power. We are also aware that we are human and fallible. If we fall … we know how to get back up. If we fail … we know how to apologise and make amends. And we are certain that these guys are the right people to take them on and pass them on: when they wear this uniform in racing, when they don’t wear it in everyday life.