Fabio Felline from Footon-Servetto is the youngest rider on the start line of the Tour de France. Born on 3 March 1990, the Italian is young enough to be Lance Armstrong’s son.
Felline won two stages and the overall of the Circuit de Lorraine in May this year. That prompted Footon-Servetto management to send him to the world’s biggest race. “I think I was potentially a reserve before”, he told Cyclingnews in Rotterdam.
He first came to attention at the early Spring races in Belgium when he hurt many other riders’ legs in the Dwars Door Vlaanderen before puncturing 8km from the line. Felline followed that up with a tenth-place finish in the GPE3 won by Fabian Cancellara, a remarkable three days before his twentieth birthday.
Along with Peter Sagan, who scored five wins this year but isn’t part of the Liquigas team for the Tour, Felline is the prodigy of the professional ranks. “For me, this is all new”, he said before starting his first Tour de France. “Exactly a year ago I was doing my A-level exams, I got 90/100.”
Felline signed with the Footon-Servetto team in part due to his personal relationship with team manager Mauro Gianetti, going back to when he was 15.
“I’m here at the Tour for experience”, Felline said. “It’s a reward for my early season results. It’s also a way to have a taste of the event. I have no pressure. I only have to take what is positive for my future. I even know how many stages I have to do. Well, in theory I’m here for ten stages but if I get tired before, I’m free to go home earlier and if I feel like doing one or two more, I can as well. I have no idea how I’ll go. I’ve never ridden my bike for more than 200 kilometres for two days in a row. I’ve been told this event is the biggest in every aspect. It’s the nicest race, the most dangerous, the most everything… It’s really special for me to be here.”
The second youngest starter of the Tour de France is Felline’s compatriot Adriano Malori, who is two years older than him.