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"I am happy with the steps I have taken since I turned professional. I thing I have progreed a lot and now I hope to take more steps to achieve more victories. Next year I would like to gain more, both in terms of wins and performance....

Photo: Trek Factory Racing




29.12.2014 @ 13:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In 2014, Giacomo Nizzolo was agonizingly close to a breakthrough stage win in the Giro. In 2015, the Italian sprinter wants to win more regularly and finally open his account in his home grand tour.


The Italian cycling fans still remember the remarkable 2010 season for the Italian U23 riders. With the two riders from 1989 Andrea Guardini and Giacomo Nizzolo, they excelled in lots of races.



With 19 wins, Guardini still has the absolute record in the history of Italian amateur cycling. Nizzolo was second with 12 wins and if one adds the wins he took in the previous season, his tally exceeds twenty wins. It is true that he never made an impact outside his home country but given the fact that he was up against riders like Elia Viviani, it is clear that the Italians had a good reason to dream about a revival of their sprinting scene that flourished under Mario Cipollini and Alessandro Petacchi.



Since then, four years have pased and the talented sprinters have now found their place in the peloton. Guardini still has an excellent power but he lacks the consistency and endurance to shine regularly in the grand tours. Nizzolo has shown that he has the maturity to fight with the best but he doesn't seem to have the speed to beat the likes of Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Marcel Kittel and Nacer Bouhanni. Guardini has taken a Giro stage win in Vedelago in 2012 when he beat Cavendish and Nizzolo has lots of near-misses in the three-week races.



Nizzolo now goes into his fifth year as a professional and he will again be part of the Trek Factory Racing Team. He faces a dilemma about whether to follow the same path as he has done in previous years, meaning that he will focus on the 2015 Giro d'Italia, or whether to change goals for the future.



The Italian knows that he is at turning point in his career and he is eager to face the challenges. "I am happy with the steps I have taken since I turned professional. I thing I have progreed a lot and now I hope to take more steps to achieve more victories. Next year I would like to gain more, both in terms of wins and performance. This season was very tough mentally, especially in the Giro. In every stge, I was there with the right attitude and fought hard to win a stage. Four second places! I hope to change at least one second place with a win," he told Biciciclismo.


"I will be happy if I can add a stage win in the Giro to my palmares," he added while looking back on his second places behind Bouhanni in Bari, Foligno and Salsomaggiore and behind Luka Mezgec on the final day in Trieste. Another goal for Nizzolo is "to won a semi-classic like Hamburg or Plouay" after he was second in the 2014 Vattenfall Cyclassics - and 3rd in 2012 - and second in the 2013 edition of the French race. Finally, he wants "to wear the national jersey at the Worlds. For Italian riders, that is important."



In recent years, it has become increasingly important to have a good team to position the sprinter for the decisive metres. With Danilo Hondo's retirement, Trek has lost an important rider and instead Marco Coledan has been brought in to take over some of the responsibility. "Yes, we have lost Danilo's experience but I know Marco very well and he knows me. We raced together at the U23 level, even in the same Trevigiani team, and I think we can do good sprints next year. And we can not forget that Steegmans can also be a good help. I think we are a good group and we can do well in every kind of racing, classics, sprints, stage races... When you know everyone better, you are ready to give a bit more so I think we have taken a step since last year."


Nizzolo is now 26 years old and he thinks that there is still room for progress. "I can improve a little more. When I look at the classics and stage races, I will have more opportunities. The number of winning opportunities is increasing. For example, there are some stages in the Volta a Catalunya and Tour of the Basque Country where you can win from a 40-50-60 rider group if you are fast like. I am not a sprinter for the flat stages. Yes, I can be there and give the best of myself but I feel better when there are some climbs before the finish."


This explains the dilemma for Nizzolo: will he continue to contest the bunch sprints or will he try to add strength on the climbs to become a rider for the harder days that can win from a small group. "I want to start with a good shape and get a good result in Australia but it is not necessary. The season is long and there is a long time to Paris-Nice which is my first goal," he said.



As an Italian, Nizzolo is almost obliged to dream about Milan-Sanremo. "Whether I will be with the best until the end, it's a good question. I don't know yet but will know more after the race. I have only done the race once and it was in 2013 when there was a lot of snow so it was a special edition. But I can say that I am very motivated for this race because it is in Italy and I want to be in great form."


Nizzolo has his eyes on a number of other classics too. "In the future maybe I could try to do Amstel Gold Race, but those races are more for climbers and now I'm a fast rider so it may be too hard for me. I think Flanders is one of the toughest events on the calendar, no doubt; Roubaix is ​​special. We need time to find out what I can do,"said Nizzolo. Another goal is the Italian championships road race. "Everything depends on the route. The last years it has been a hard one so I had no chance. We will see this year. If I do a good Giro, I will usually have some rest, but if the circuit is good for the Championships, I will try to maintain my shape for that day."


Finally, Nizzolo wants to convince national coach Davide Cassani that he deserves to be in Richmond for the Worlds. "I would also like to be part of the national team for the Worlds; at least I'll try. I don't know the circuit, but from what I have been told, the course could be very good for me and other fast riders. This year I was omitted and I accepted the decision because there may have been better riders than me for that course."



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