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“In the past I had some veterans who taught things in the first few years among the professionals and I try to do the sam. Daniele Colli is a good one to have as a kind of mother. Let's say that he and I are the ones that tak...

Photo: Sirotti




17.11.2015 @ 09:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Pierpaolo De Negri is one of the most experienced riders in the Nippo - Vini Fantini team. The Italian joined the Vini Fantini team in 2013 and has been part of the Italian-Japanese project since it started in 2014.


The 2015 season was a successful one for De Negri who won a stage in the Tour de Slovenie and achieved several places of honour. He did the Giro d’Italia where he was on the attack in the stage to Fiuggi.


“I had already done the Giro in 2012 with Vini Fantini,” he told “In recent years, I've always raced in the professional category, except for a year when I decided to follow the sponsor and drop to continental level (2014, ed.). It proved the right choice, because I am fine here. It is like family. 


“For the team it was a year of adjustment to the professional level. We helped Damiano [Cunego] who is used to having a team that is always available in the most crucial moments of the race. We have many young people, and, unfortunately, he was often on his own on the climbs. Next year the team will be reinforced and we will see that in the results. 


“It was great to race the Giro on my home roads and personally to have finished it for the second time after 2012. Unfortunately, it was impossible to get to the finish with the right break.


“After the Giro I took a break. I rested for a few days and I decided to see if I could still keep the condition. I was strong in Slovenia, I won a stage and had a tenth place. I was good in in Romania where I mainly helped Eduard Grosum and also at the Vuelta a Burgos. Then I lost a bit in August and September, but at the end of the season I found a good run of form again. Overall it was a good season overall. It is just a shame that I did not score a bit more at times when I was strong.


De Negri is one of the team leaders alongside Cunego, Alessandro Bisolti and Daniele Colli and plays a special role for the young riders.


“I have an open character, I always try to involve everyone,” he said. “In the past I had some veterans who taught things in the first few years among the professionals and I try to do the sam. Daniele Colli is a good one to have as a kind of mother. Let's say that he and I are the ones that take care of things. We are living near our headquarters (La Spezia, ed). We can act as intermediaries between the team and riders and maintain harmony in the group. Nippo-Vini Fantini has many interesting young riders, with Italians Iuri Filosi, Antonio Nibali and Giacomo Berlato and Japanese Manuabu Ishibashi, Shiki Kuroeda and Genki Yamamoto.


“The young Italians have a tendency to be professional and are already experts. The young Japanese riders come from a country where cycling is less prominent and we have to work a little more. Ishibashi is very strong on the climb but must learn some basic things, from descending to being in the peloton. Yamamoto is a very strong and a long-distance rider who showed himself several times this season. Kuroeda is small in stature and is a sprinter.”


De Negri ended his season at the Japan Cup which was an important race for the team.


“To ride the Japan was a bit like going to a Belgian classic or Milan-Sanremo,” he said. “There were so many spectators. Many were asking for an autograph or a photo, some even brought us some presents. Our sport is followed by the fans, both professional road racing and mountain biking. It was a great experience in Japan. I like it a lot as a country and I will gladly go there every year. “


De Negri has now turned his attention to 2016.


“The idea would be to start early in Argentina or in a similar race in a warm country,” he said. “Then I will move to Italy to do the first races on the calendar and then we will be racing in Belgium, even if we have to get the invitations. We have asked for a lot and we hope to be invited. So I hope to ride a lot, especially in Belgium. Then we will see about the Giro. We will find out whether we are invited or not in January.”



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