Giorgia Bronzini will take the UCI's directeur sportif course at the end of the year as she moves closer to life after racing. The 34-year-old is competing at the Santos Women's Tour as part of the Cylance Pro Cycling team, and although she has not decided on when she will hang up her wheels, she is keeping her options open.
"I'll do the UCI course the end of 2018. I want to try and have the licence to direct. Then at the end of the year, I can decide if I want to be a directeur, a rider or swap part of the way during the 2019 season. I'm really open to the future. Being a rider is amazing and I must say that it's not an easy decision to make," she told Cyclingnews ahead of the Santos Women's Tour.
With a full calendar of racing ahead of her, Bronzini's short-term focus is on her own racing. She has fond memories of racing in the subcontinent having dominated the Bay Crits in 2014 and winning the Worlds in Geelong in 2010. Leaving Wiggle after five years marks a major step in her career and it was one that took considerable thought and time.
"Obviously the Wiggle team started with me five years ago. I felt like that team was part of me and it was really hard to make the change because I was really involved. But I felt that I was in a routine and the balance of the team changed. I still liked it but I wasn't always able to focus on my goals. I was helping others and wasn't able to think about what I needed. "At the end of my career I want to look back and make sure I reach the most I can. I when I stop cycling I want it to be at the top level."
The UCI's course, which runs in December, could start a new chapter for Bronzini and she is determined to work with an international team, rather than immediately start up an Italian squad of her own.
"I know a lot of teams and people. I want to have an experience outside of Italy. For me, I think their mentality can be a little closed."
The move to Cylance, however, has given the Italian a new level of motivation. She replaced Kirsten Wild, who has moved in the opposite direction to Wiggle. Bronzini's form is somewhat unknown and she has not yet enjoyed a training camp with her new teammates, although she has experience of racing with Cyclance's Marta Tagliaferro and Rossella Ratto.
"I did this race the first it was on but I had different preparation compared to the time I raced Bay Crits. When I did Bay Crits though I was there all of December so jetlag and weather conditions weren't a problem. This time I've come from Europe a couple of days ago so I don't know my shape but I'll use my experience more than my legs. I've had a couple of good sleeps but I've come from the Med so my body should be fine," she told Cyclingnews.
"Maybe two or three years ago I was stronger than now. Having the very top level for so many years is difficult, obviously but I think my experience will help to cover some of that gap. I need to be really smart and pick the right races to target. I'm not going to turn around and try and win the Giro. I'll choose the best way, so maybe fewer races."
"It's not that I had a problem with Wiggle but I'm near the end of my career and it was a bit of a struggle to get out a routine. I made a really hard choice but I wanted to be back in the peloton and fight for me. I'm here to also help develop the younger riders, so there will be a mix, but I did this also for me."
As for retirement, Bronzini is keen to see how the 2018 season develops before making any hasty decisions over her future. She has a one-year deal with the American team and any call on her retirement will come down whether she has the passion keep going.
"I don't want to be so precise because it could be an amazing season but for sure at the end of the year, I'll do the UCI directeur sportif course. To be a rider you need to be motivated and have a passion. When you feel the passion isn't so high then that's the time to stop. You'll know it inside and it's not something you can just plan."