August 6, 2005
Hi all my friends at Cyclingnews!
Did you see the result from the Hew Cyclassics last Sunday? Finally I've succeeded in giving my fans a big win this season! It's been a while since I've written but there hasn't been much to write about for me. I rode the Giro d'Italia to help Paolo Bettini and we had a good time. I eventually finshed 84th - our Quick.Step team had a good Giro. My next goal was to win the Italian championship where I was second to Bettini in 2003, but I ended up second again when I didn't ride a good sprint in Pescara. It was a big disappointment to me, but my reaction was positive. Instead of getting down, I decided to focus even more on my training.
Since I wasn't doing the Tour, I took a quick vacation after the Italian championship, then packed my bags again and headed to the mountains in Livigno to ride with Paolini and some other Quick.Step teammates who decided to have a training camp at high altitude. I spent hours and hours on my bike, thinking of the first chance I would get to put all the bad moments of the 2005 season behind me and show what kind of a rider I really am.
My win in Hamburg is the first step towards returning to a higher level. I really want to have more consistent performances this season because that's something I've always lacked. I think I'm on the right track and let's see what happens at Giro del Lazio and afterwards. For the moment, I just want to go back to the race on Sunday. I really have to thank my Quick.Step teammates, who did a fantastic job for me at the race. They were all great! But I have to single out the work of one teammate in particolar. Not many riders would have the help of a cyclist of the calibre of Paolo Bettini but that's what happened. To have him there made everyone on the team relax and focus. Plus I can't forget the awesome work of Bram Tankink in the finale. Paolini and I both had a great chance to win and we had no problems riding together during the race.
We discussed the sprint and I decided to go long to take advantage of my power and the slight final incline, while Luca would come around at the end. It went well for me, but it was a great 1-2 win for us, like the Tour de la Region Wallone a few days before when Paolini won and I was second.
But now the page has turned. I'm down in Tuscany at Bettini's house for some training. I don't want to leave anything to chance; I am really psyched to show my stuff after Hamburg.
Let's talk soon, hopefully after my next win!