Twenty-six-year-old Fabio Felline has renewed his contract with Trek-Segafredo through the end of the 2017 season. The one-year deal comes on the heels of the Italian's points classification win in the Vuelta a España.
Felline's season was hampered by a serious crash in the neutralised section of the Amstel Gold Race that left him with a broken nose and a fracture to the base of his skull. The injuries kept him out of competition for two months. He returned for the Italian championships, coming 8th behind Manuel Quinziato in the time trial, and by the Tour of Poland in July he had re-found his form, coming second overall.
Although he fell shy of winning his first Grand Tour stage in the Vuelta a España, his five top-three finishes earned him the overall green jersey and a new contract with the Trek-Segafredo team.
General Manager Luca Guercilena was impressed with how Felline came back from his injuries. "Fabio has been very professional since the beginning, but I have to admit I am very, very proud of the way he behaved after his horrifying crash in this year's Amstel Gold Race," Guercilena said.
"He was really focused on his recovery and worked hard to be back on the bike as soon as he could. It was a long and hard road, but when he took second place overall in the Tour of Poland, we knew right away he was back, and in a big way! How he took and defended his green jersey in the Vuelta was world class. With top-3 places on very diverse parcours, he proved to be able to surpass himself and to surprise everyone.
"It goes without saying we are very pleased to have re-signed Fabio for the next two seasons. With the development he has undergone, I expect him to show us some great things in the coming years."
Felline credited the team's cohesiveness for giving him the confidence to return to his top form.
"I had the strangest of seasons with my crash in Amstel Gold Race, but the team didn't forget about me. This human aspect I've encountered in our team was a really important point for me. You know, the team treats me as a person, not just a rider, and that is for me of utmost importance to be able to give it my all.
"At the beginning of this season, my goal was to make a step forward as a rider. But of course my development and growth this year was abruptly stopped by my crash in April, after which I had to stay off the bike for two months. On the other hand, when I look back at it now, since my comeback in Poland I have been in the front in approximately 50% of my races at the WorldTour level. So I have to be happy about that. For sure, it has not been a complete season, but I definitely want to continue in this direction."