Right now you find me on the sofa, chilling after the Tour de Suisse and with the Italian national championships just a few days away. From this point on the season really ramps up once more, with nationals quickly followed by the Tour de France and, all being well, I should be on the start line in Dusseldorf.
As for Suisse, it wasn't too bad, although of course it could have been better. After I raced the Tour of California I stuck in another altitude camp but it meant that I arrived at Suisse perhaps a little jetlagged. I quickly found my feet, though, and picked up four top tens during a tough week of racing. I have to be happy with that, I guess. I'm not the only one of the road and everyone wants to win.
This weekend I head into the national championships and I race on Sunday. I actually have no idea if the course really suits me. There's a big difference between what they've said in the press release about the major climb and what we've seen on GPS. It's been said that the climb is around 2.5km in length but then riders have posted that it's another kilometre long. It might not sound like a lot but it can make a big difference in a race that's hard to control and is full of attacks. I'm climbing quite well at the moment, it must be said, so I can be confident of doing a good ride.
As for our team, there are four Quick-Step Floors riders at the race. We lost Martinelli to injury but Eros Capecchi, Fabio Sabatini, Gianluca Barmbillia and me will all make it to the start line and then hopefully the finish in Ivrea.
It's a good team but for a 230-kilometre race you need a big squad to control affairs. The problem now, in Italy, is that we don't have a team that can turn up to nationals with 15 riders, like we did with teams like Lampre and Liquigas in the past. There are maybe larger numbers within some of the Pro Conti and lower level teams but they always tend to focus on getting in the breakaways.
It could lead to chaos. That means riders will look to us, Bahrain and UAE to control the race. There are also a few good riders who maybe don't have huge support, like Caruso from BMC, Feline from Trek, who is racing in his hometown, and Moscon from Sky, who was good in Route du Sud. It's going to be unpredictable but we'll give it our best shot and try and play our cards in the finale.
There have been some headlines about how Italian riders have to race nationals now in order to meet the selection criteria for the World Championships. I have to say that I support that decision and I think it's the right thing to do.
I've skipped a couple of nationals in the past but it's been when I've not had the condition to honour the race. When you make a rule like this for everyone to show up, then it's fine, as long as they're healthy enough to race. It's our race and the jersey, if you win, is special. You get to wear it all year and wherever you go people cheer for you. It's a jersey that many great riders have pulled on in their career and I know that I'm always proud to wear the national colours at Worlds.
From nationals I think I'll head to the Tour de France. Nothing has been confirmed yet but I should be going there. The team have a meeting after nationals, so a decision should be made Monday evening. I've looked at the profile of the race and there's one or two stages that suit me – the rest of the race is split between sprints and mountains.
It doesn't really look like a race that is suited to riding with an inventive style. When it's a sprint stage in the Tour, 99 per cent of the time it ends in a bunch sprint, and there's little chance of that changing. Maybe one sprinter wins the first four sprints, and then every other team looks to him to control the next day, and then a break can survive, but it's going to be difficult.