The Wilier-Selle Italia team held its official presentation in the Wilier Triestina factory in the Veneto region of Italy on Saturday, revealing its hopes to grow to WorldTour status within the next three years.
Wilier took over title sponsorship last summer before the Giro d’Italia and further backing has been secured for 2017 from Selle Italia. Italian internet and mobile communications brand Fastweb is also set to boost its investment if the team secures a wildcard invitation to the 2017 Giro d’Italia.
“Our goal is to compete at the highest level in both road racing and mountain biking. Our goal on the road is to step up to WorldTour level within three years. We think its possible and want to show the Italian and especially the Veneto-based bike industry to the world,” said Enrico Gastaldello, one of three brothers who manage the family-owned business from a new factory and offices in Rossano Veneto.
“We could have become a partner with a WorldTour team but we preferred to take a longer route as a tittle sponsor and we’re sure it’ll be worth it. We’ve got to thank Selle Italia for deciding to work with us.”
The 2017 team is based in Tuscany and managed by Angelo Citracca, with former Mapei rider Luca Scinto again as senior directeur sportif. The team's roster has changed little for 2017, with Filippo Pozzato expected to end his long career with the team this season, while 25 year-old Italian sprinter Jakub Mareczko is expected to step up and turn his many wins in minor races into success in Europe. Also on the roster are Andrea Fedi, Manuel Belletti and Mateo Busato.
Pozzato turned 35 in September and 2017 will be his 18th season as a professional.
“It’ll be an important season for me because it could be my last,” Pozzato admitted.
“I hope to make up for some of the results I missed out on last year. We’re a young team with young guys who are developing well. My role is to help them and share my experience with them but also to win something to pay back everyone for their support. We hope to lay the foundations for something bigger and better for the team.”
Mareczko was forced to quit the Giro d’Italia early in 2016 but finished third in the Under 23 World Championships in Qatar and then won three stages in China in the Tour of Taihu Lake.
“I’ve won 25 races but only one in Italy. I hope to change that this year and continue to do well thanks to a stronger lead out train coordinated by Pozzato,” he said.
“I was disappointed to only win the bronze medal but it was still a good result for me and has given me the motivation for 2017."
The Wilier-Selle Italia team will make its season debut at the Vuelta a San Juan, with Pozzato and Belletti, racing with Yonder Godoy, Julen Amezqueta, Alex Turrin and Matteo Draperi.