With the off-season now in full swing, newlywed Davide Formolo is patiently awaiting Tuesday's route presentation of the 2017 Giro d'Italia. His mind and training are becoming fixed on having his best possible performance at the 100th edition of his nation's famed Grand Tour, where he hopes to lead Cannondale-Drapac to success.
"I don't know yet what the team's plans are for 2017, but certainly being Italian, it would be nice to participate and be a leader in the Giro d'Italia at its centenary," Formolo told Tuttobiciweb.it. "I am confident that I can do even better than I've shown so far. In addition to having a wedding ring, maybe I will go faster.
"The important thing is to have the right approach to the Grand Tour in my future program. My mission is to go fast and be consistent."
Formolo joined the WorldTour with Cannondale in 2014 largely due to his success as an under-23 rider across prominent stage races. A near-overall podium at Valle d'Aosta Mont Blanc in 2012 led to second place overall the under-23 race the following year, and sixth overall at Tour de l'Avenir.
By 2014, he was making his mark as one of the top up-and-coming talents out of Italy with seventh overall at Tour de Suisse and Tour de Taiwan, fourth overall at Tour of Turkey and second to Vincenzo Nibali at the Italian road championships.
He had a breakout season in 2015 when he won stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia in La Spezia, in what was his first brush with a Grand Tour. He went into this year's Giro better prepared and more motivated to leave his mark in the overall classification.
Unfortunately, he was caught up in a crash during stage 4 at the Tour de Romandie just days before the start of the Giro and never properly recovered. He finished, for a second time, in 31st place overall.
"I had set the whole first part of the season on the Giro, but the fall in the Tour de Romandie interrupted my plans," Formolo said. "I was strong, I did everything as planned, but a few days before the start of the Giro I hit the right side violently. I had not given it too much [consideration], but in retrospect that was a fatal tumble.
"In the three weeks of the Giro, I gritted my teeth, but I swear that it was hard to walk from the hotel room to the bus to go to the start. The human body is a phenomenal vehicle but the beatings compromised my performance. Uphill, I could not be competitive with the best.
"I ended the Giro with my morale in my shoes. I asked the team to put me in the Vuelta because I wanted to redeem myself and demonstrate, even to myself, that the consequences of that fall in Switzerland were not an excuse."
In preparation for his third-ever Grand Tour at the Vuelta a Espana in September, Formolo bounced back to produce a strong performance at the Tour of Poland in July, where he finished fourth overall at the WorldTour event. He then ended his season with a redeeming ninth overall at the Vuelta, even while working for teammate Andrew Talansky, who finished fifth.
"I surprised myself at the Vuelta," he said. "Despite the work done for Talansky, I managed to make a good ranking. After racing three Grand Tours, I realized that to make the overall, you can't afford to make a single mistake or even take a moment to breath. You must fight for the top positions and you must be ahead, come what may, every day.
"The path has been very hard, but to finish in the top 10 [ninth place behind overall winner Nairo Quintana - ed.] has raised my morale."
Formolo will take his ninth place overall at this year's Vuelta into next season with the hopes of improving on that at the centennial anniversary of the Giro d'Italia in May. "Year after year, I'm maturing, but I can still improve."
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