The UCI Track Champions League will kick off with 72 of the world’s best track cyclists - 36 male and 36 female - from 30 nations in Mallorca on November 6.
Italy's Miriam Vece, 24, will be one of the 18 athletes competing in the women's Sprint events alongside Lea Friedrich from Germany, who won three gold medals at the recent Track World Championships, Olympic gold medalist Kelsey Mitchell (Canada), keirin gold medalist Shanne Braspennincx (Netherlands), and Tokyo sprint silver medalist Olena Starikova (Ukraine).
Vece is largely supported by the Italian Cycling Federation and the World Cycling Centre (WCC) programmes, which has been supporting athletes worldwide for nearly two decades, and she lives and trains at the centre located in Switzerland.
She secured bronze medals in the 500m Time Trial at the 2020 World Championships, the 2020 European Championships and the 2019 European Games. She finished fifth in the event at the 2021 Track World Championships.
Cyclingnews caught up with Vece for an interview ahead of the opening round of the Track Champions League.
Cyclingnews: What area are you from in Italy?
Miriam Vece: I’m from Romanengo in the province of Cremona. It’s a small town in the Lombardia region in the north of Italy. I love my small town, we have everything we need and everyone knows each other.
CN: Could you tell us how you got involved in cycling and at what age?
MV: I started cycling when I was six years old because my brother was a cyclist as well and I wanted to follow him in his footsteps.
CN: How did you get connected with the World Cycling Centre programme?
MV: After that I won the two U23 European Championship titles in 2018, my Italian National Team coach asked me if I wanted to try to be part of the WCC because Montichiari, the only indoor track in Italy, was closed. This was the only chance I had to keep training as a track sprinter and to see how much I could improve.
CN: Do you live and train at the World Cycling Centre?
MV: The centre supports me in everything. The biggest support that the coaches give me is helping me to learn how to train properly and when my body needs to rest, something that I didn’t understand well when I was training in Italy. My coach helps me improve my strength and training. In Italy, I didn’t have a training program so, when I came here, even though I was at a good level, I actually started from the beginning.
CN: Do you race on the road as well?
MV: I have been part of the Italian Continental women’s team Valcar Travel & Service, but I don’t race on the road. I’m here at the WCC only for track racing since November 2018. Valentino Villa, from Valcar, gives me the chance to do what I love and what I can actually do in a good way so I can just thank him for this.
CN: You are a three-time Italian Champion on the track and a medallist at the 2020 Track World Championships. Can you tell us about your focus (events) and future goals on for track racing?
MV: I’ve been focussed on the Nations Cup events, and I was also focussed on the European Championships in June, but my biggest goal in this season was the World Championships in October.
CN: What are you thoughts on the Track World Championships moving to October?
MV: For me as sprinter, it doesn’t makes any difference if they are in October or February. I used to focus on the European Championships at that time, an event that has now moved to February. Maybe for a road rider it’s a bit more difficult to have the Track World Championships in October.
CN: How were you able to stay motivated during COVID-19 during last season without events?
MV: It was hard not racing but we’re a good group and we were able to motivate each other so, we could stay focused and keep training.
CN: Do you also receive support from the Italian National Team for competing in track?
MV: Yes, my national team is always by my side, no matter what.
CN: The new UCI Track Champions League starts in November. What do you think of this new series?
MV: I think the new Track Champions League will be something really nice and interesting to watch from home. I think the series will give more visibility to the track races and to the riders. It will be nice to be live on Eurosport for all the five rounds.
CN: What events will you be racing and what are your expectations for the five round series?
MV: Qualifying for the Track Champions League means a lot to me, it means I’m one of the best riders in the world and this makes me, and my nation, really proud. I’ll be racing Sprint and Keirin events in all of the five rounds.
I don’t have too many expectations for the first round, honestly, my mind and body were asking for some rest after the World Championships, so me and my coach decided to take a little break.
Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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