Eolo-Kometa have announced welcoming three Italian riders Simone Bevilacqua, Giovanni Lonardi and Mirco Maestri to the team in 2022. The Italian-registered ProTeam managed by retired professional riders Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso stated in a press release that the three new hires bring all their 'experience, freshness, desire and dreams' to the squad.
"Three riders sought, chosen and wanted. Three riders who are already enthusiastic to join the project and who will bring all their experience, freshness, desire and dreams," Eolo-Kometa wrote in a team press release on Friday.
The three new signings come off the back of the announcement that they have also hired Diego Rosa from Arkea Samsic and David Martín Romero from the development team.
Bevilacqua, 24, joins the team from Vini Zabu and won a stage at the Tour de Langkawi in 2019. He started his pro career with Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia in 2018 and then joined Vini Zabu for two seasons in 2020 and 2021. He won the national junior titles in the scratch race in 2014 and time trial in 2015.
“There is all the enthusiasm that is normal to feel when you start a new adventure, especially when you come as I do from two years a bit difficult. Here in Eolo-Kometa I’m sure I’ll find the right environment and the motivation I need," Bevilacqua said.
Lonardi, 24, joins the team after spending two season at Bardiani-CSF-Faizane and one season at Nippo Vini Fantini. He had a stand-out year in 2019 with two top-10 finishes at the Giro d'Italia and a stage win at the Tour de Taiwan. He also won a stage at the Tour of Antalya last year and a stage at the Tour of Bulgaria this season.
“The key word for this new adventure of mine is: relaunch. If I look back I see some ups and downs and too many disappointed expectations for different reasons, now it’s time for a new experience and to make some results: and this team is the best place," Lonardi said.
Maestri, 30, also arrives from Bardiani-CSF-Faizane where he spent the previous six seasons. He won GP Slovenia Astria and GP Slovenia this year, along with second in a stage at the Tour of Bulgaria. He also won the points classification at the Tirreno-Adriatico in 2019 and finished top-10 in a stage at the Giro d'Italia that year.
“This is a very important turning point for me: new stimuli, new people even if I find with great pleasure Stefano Zanatta that I know very well. When that morning I received a message from Ivan Basso on my phone asking me if I wanted to race with him, I got goosebumps: as a kid I was a fan of his and I also adored Contador, finding them again is a dream," Maestri said.
"I want to turn over a new leaf, I don’t deny the past years and I thank all the people I’ve met but now I need new stimuli and to repay the trust I’ve been given. I’m a complete rider, I don’t like to wait for the race but I love to attack, then I pull the sprints for my teammates and if I need to give a hand I don’t pull back. I bring my wealth of experience, I’ve raced four Giro d’Italia and four Milano-Sanremo: and I dream of winning that stage at the Giro that I only came close to."
A 'rookie team' at the Giro d'Italia, Eolo-Kometa secured a stage victory when 25-year-old Lorenzo Fortunato took a spectacular solo win up the Zoncolan in May. He went onto to win the overall title at the Adriatica Ionica Race.
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