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“You should know that he is not a quitter. Dumoulin had been a strong rival and it was unexpected but we never thought the race was lost."

Photo: Sirotti


03.11.2015 @ 08:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The man who takes care of the muscles and soul of Fabio Aru is Umberto Inselvini. Having worked alongside many champions, the 57-year old Italian has won the confidence of the promising Sardinian who gained international prominence by winning the Vuelta a España.


Unsurprisingly, he was overjoyed to watch his protégé on the top step of the podium in Madrid.


"At that moment, I was crying and it is nothing to be ashamed by,” he tells Tuttobiciweb in an interview. “If he can touch people in this way, it means that he has done something that goes beyond the victory in a bike race.


"Afterwards, we all gathered at a nice restaurant in Madrid. Riders, the technical staff, the  leaders, sponsors and close relatives. We had dinner and reflected on the three weeks spent together. Fabio thanked the whole team. He has a strong character, is demanding, above all to himself, but he recognizes the commitment of everybody. It is gratifying to be at his side. When someone from your team wins, you're always happy, but when you share everything along the path, the successes have another meaning. For me, it was a double emotion to see Fabio win because I lived with him in the build-up to the Giro and then the Vuelta. I was there at every training camp from Teide to Sestriere and at every race.”


"When Dumoulin led, Fabio wanted to do everything possible to get those 3 seconds back and take the jersey. The last three stages were very intense because they presented the last chance to turn the tables. He did it in the last road stage. The next day he had not realized what he had done. We did not say anything after the finish, we both knew what the team had done to get this victory. It was enough to look into his eyes to understand that he made it.


“You should know that he is not a quitter. Dumoulin had been a strong rival and it was unexpected but we never thought the race was lost. The rivals before the start were Froome, Valverde, Quintana, Majka and Rodriguez. After the time trial, they were all behind. The Dutchman was strong but Fabio was clear because he knew he had made the most of the event. After the test against the clock, he was very satisfied with his performance and thought only about winning. Second place would not be bad. He would also accept if someone had proved superior to him, but he did not want to leave any  stone unturned. He would have accepted it but the second place was not enough.”


Inselvini also explained how Aru behaves on the massage table.


"He is a very polite boy,” he said. “To find a young man who always asks for permission says ‘please, sorry, thank you’ is not so common. I appreciate it in this way because I like him. He pays attention to the small things. He is very respectful of my work. He looks at the messages he receives on the phone, relaxes and does not have particular habits. I also know that there is a time when you can talk but sometimes you have to listen, it depends. There is no fixed routine. Themassage changes according to how tired he is.


“The thing that surprised me most is the ease with which he faced the time trial: we were all tense because we knew that that day could decide the Vuelta, while he was calm because he was aware that he had done the most to get to the top for the decisive challenge.


“After the crash [in stage 19, ed.] he was nervous because she had lost another 3 to Tom who had proven to be really strong. He was still fighting, his injuries were fairly important. He had taken a nasty blow to the iliac crest which quite swollen, but I, the osteopath and acupuncturist treated him to limit the damage and the next day, despite the wounds, we have seen what he was able to do.”


"I met him for the first time ever in Livigno in 2011. I was on a training camp with Cunego and Ballan at Hotel Valtellina and Fabio was in our same hotel alone. He had just turned pro at Astana and he seemed to be a little reserved, probablu because he was impressed to be with more accomplished riders. On that occasion we did not speak either, so my first impression was just superficial. I did not know that we lived close to each other, both in Bergamo, because we had never met before. We started to work together in 2013.


"Since then he has grown because he wanted to grow up. he has always tried to improve. For example, he has focused on nutrition, trying to understand what he can eat and what has bothered him and made every effort to be at his best. He gives the most to achieve what he wants to do and sacrifices a lot for this. Despite only three years of professional experience, he has done more than some riders do during their entire career. The pressure has obviously increased. This is the first year that he is not only the leader of a team but also of a stage race. It cannot be easy for a 25 -year-old rider but he is mature and can handle the responsibility.


"Last year I experienced the Tour of Nibali and even before this I was in the Giro with Cunego was when he wore the pink jersey and in many other important races but this Vuelta has a special flavor because, as I said, I lived not only three weeks alongside Fabio but also all "the first ones". I have not been away from home for only a month. I have had over 3,000km of transfers. To see him win was a special feeling because Fabio know the expectations, values, emotions, and I cannot hide mine. Fabio with has not "only" won a race bike, he has done much more.”



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