After adding Giro dell’Emilia victory to his recent triumphs at Milano-Torino and the Coppa Sabatini, Diego Ulissi is Italian cycling’s man of the moment, but the Lampre-Merida rider says that he needs to make a further leap in quality if he is to win a 250-kilometre classic.
“I’m the first one to realise that I’m still missing something,” Ulissi said, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. “But I’ve made great strides this season and I want to continue like that. I have [Lampre trainer and former classics specialist] Michele Bartoli very close to me and he makes me work very hard. I’m sure that will bear fruit.”
Still only 24 years of age, the former junior world champion has put together his best season to date as a professional, claiming six victories in total, but it is his late-season form that has particularly caught the eye.
There was a certain degree of inevitability about Ulissi’s victory on the hilltop finish atop Bologna’s Colle di San Luca on Saturday, coming as it did after similar wins on Superga at Milano-Torino and in Peccioli at the Coppa Sabatini.
“If I’m in one of those moments where everything comes off, it’s also because I have a team that is supporting me in everything I do,” said Ulissi, who had help from Michele Scarponi, Damiano Cunego and Kristijan Durasek in the finale of the Giro dell’Emilia.
“It was a difficult finale to interpret, with a lot of attacks and counter-attacks. Durasek’s attack from distance was fundamental because it meant I could stay on the wheels. I was able to tackle the last climb of San Luca pedalling well and then I raised the tempo in the final 500 metres.”
Ulissi’s final outing of 2014 comes at Sunday’s GP Beghelli in Monteveglio, but in spite of his rich vein of form, the Tuscan admitted that he was looking to bringing his season to an end.
“Is it a pity the season is over? No, no, it’s much better this way,” he said. “I’m very tired. The time has come to rest and take a holiday, finally.”