The Italian neo-pro sprinted to five stage wins at January’s Tour de Langkawi and followed that up with victory on the final day of the Tour of Qatar. After another solid outing at the Tour of Oman, Guardini was sidelined by his team in recent weeks to allow him to recuperate from his early-season exertions.
“It’s a decision that I agree with,” Guardini told Velochrono.fr. “After such a gruelling month, it would really have been too much to go and ride Tirreno-Adriatico. I’m young and I know my limits.”
While Guardini’s early spate of success was in keeping with his recording-breaking tally of 19 wins in his final amateur season, he has already had a stark illustration of one of the key differences between the professional and amateur ranks, namely the length of the season.
“Last year, I started my season on February 28. This year, I’ve done 22 days of racing before February 28!” Guardini exclaimed. “That’s huge for me. I needed a period of rest. I would have really liked to have participated in Milan-San Remo, but it would only have been for the experience. I should have the chance to race it next year.”
The Settimana Coppi e Bartali sees the 21-year-old ride his first professional race on home roads, and he arrives at the start with high ambitions.
“There are two stages suited to me – the very first one, on Tuesday morning, and the one the day after,” he said. “I’m even more motivated because the race takes place in Italy and even in the Veneto, which is to say at home. My new fan club will be there. I’m going there to win, that’s clear.”
Guardini is hoping that his performances in the next few weeks will be enough to secure him a berth on Farnese Vini-Neri’s Giro d’Italia roster, and he will have another chance to make his case for selection at April’s Tour of Turkey.
“After that, we’ll make a decision with [team manager] Luca Scinto, based on my state of form,” Guardini explained. “If I do the Giro, I will only do the first ten or twelve stages, which already seems very difficult to me, especially with the route this year. Of course I really want to do it, but I know that you need to go there well prepared. We’ll see.”