Trek-Segafredo team manager Luca Guercilena will attend the Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy on Wednesday, seven months after he stepped back from managing the US-registered men's and women's teams to treat lymphoma.
The 48-year-old Italian revealed to La Gazzetta dello Sport (opens in new tab) that he has undergone nine cycles of immunotherapy and chemotherapy to fight the cancer in his neck and abdomen.
“I was scared at the beginning of it all because I didn’t know what challenge I was facing, I was used to my diary being laid out for the next 18 months. I was also in pain and waiting for a full diagnosis, so it was psychologically very difficult,” Guercilena said.
“When my treatment and my future became clearer, I started to see the glass half full. The treatment had an immediate effect and that boosted my morale. By mid-November the lump had reduced greatly. Since then I’ve done a further three cycles of treatment.”
“I’ve got more check-ups in mid-March but after Laigueglia I hope to be at Strade Bianche and the first stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. It’s great to go back to the races, I’d really missed them. I’ve been able to work remotely but our life is spent on the road, that’s cycling.”
Guercilena became a team manager after excellent results as a high performance coach, first with Mapei and then other teams including QuickStep and RadioShack.
He has worked with the Trek men’s team since its creation in 2011 and became manager of the women’s team in 2019.
The news that Guercilena would take a break for treatment sparked an outpouring of support from the sport, with fellow team managers, teams and many riders offering him encouragement on social media. The Trek-Segafredo team launched a campaign of public support called ‘Forza Luca’. He says it boosted his morale as he fought the lymphoma.
“It was very emotional. I received messages of support from all over the world and that massively boosted my morale. I realised that I’d worked well in the past and that people cared about me.
Guercilena was moved by the appeal of Trek-Segafredo directeur sportif Yaroslav Popovych to help his Ukrainian compatriots after the Russian invasion of the country, saying the team is ready to help him as he gathers aid to send to the Ukraine.
“We’ve been in touch every day,” Guercilena revealed. "Everyone’s personal decisions have to be respected and the human aspect of all of this is far more important than anything work related. We’re ready to help him in any way we can.”
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.