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Formolo finds new focus thanks to fatherhood

SAINT MARTIN DE BELLEVILLE FRANCE AUGUST 14 Arrival Davide Formolo of Italy and Team UAE Team Emirates Celebration during the 72nd Criterium du Dauphine 2020 Stage 3 a 157km stage from Corenc to Saint Martin de Belleville 1419m dauphine Dauphin on August 14 2020 in Saint Martin de Belleville France Photo by Justin SetterfieldGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Davide Formolo has said becoming a father has given him new focus and determination for 2021, with the 28-year-old looking to bounce back in the Ardennes Classics and enjoy other success with UAE Team Emirates teammate and Monaco neighbour Tadej Pogačar. 

Formolo's partner Mirna gave birth to Chloe on November 15 in Monaco, with the Italian rider subsequently posting photos and even an audio file of the baby’s crying on social media.  

"Becoming a father makes you realise what’s really important in life. To put it bluntly, you stop being a boy and become a man," Formolo told La Gazzetta dello Sport.   

"The baby’s birth has given me extra motivation as a rider too. For sure it'll push me to do even better because I’ll feel more responsible for my young family."

Formolo has shown he has the ability and aggression to shine in the Ardennes Classics and mountain stages of Grand Tours.He was second behind Jakob Fugslang at the 2019 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and second at this year’s Strade Bianche behind Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). 

He won a stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné in August but fractured his collarbone at the Tour de France. He underwent surgery in the hope of riding for Italy at the Imola World Championships but only returned to racing at the Vuelta a España.

"I hope to avoid similar physical problems in 2021 so that I can really show what I can do. The Tour crash cost me a place at Worlds and that was a huge disappointment because the hilly course really suited me," he explained.

"That still hurts, as does missing a chance to defend my Italian national title. I’ve told myself I’ll get the tricolore back one day."

Formolo’s crash-hit season coincided with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating added disruption. He was stuck in the UAE in February after several UAE Team Emirates staff and riders tested positive for the virus. He raced and trained in a protective bubble during the summer and then was at the Vuelta as the second wave hit Europe in October.        

"It was a bit of a shock at the UAE Tour because nobody expected it, the coronavirus seemed centred around China back then," he said. 

"Things were different at the Vuelta but we were more aware of the problems. The Tour and the Giro showed that the race bubble worked. Cycling should be an example for everyone."

Formolo is currently in Monaco, where he lives in the same building as UAE Team Emirates team leader Pogačar.

"He’s on the ground floor and I live on the second floor," he explained. 

"Tadej is a nice, humble guy, who lives for cycling. He and his partner Urska are always out riding. We often train together, along with our teammate Valerio Conti.  

"We’re good friends, too, and when he won the Tour, I bought him a cake for his birthday. We had a pact; I’d help him at the Tour and he’d help me in the Ardennes. But my crash ruined that."

Formolo has been busy with the birth of Chloe and has still to decide his 2021 goals, but he has been planning some interesting cross training. 

"Monaco is a cool place to train, especially in winter because it’s never that cold in winter. I really like living near the sea. In fact, I’ve just bought a diving suit and I’m going to go for a swim."

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