Vincenzo Nibali has completed the last Giro d'Italia of his career. Everyone's admiration was felt especially during the mountain stages, where the champion cemented an all-important fourth place in the general classification.
Now that you’re a second-year Under 23, what are your objectives?
“As last year was more about getting used to being in this age category, I definitely want to step up this year with the aim of getting consistent top-10s at the World Cups. It won’t be easy, but I think the first two or three rounds will give a good indication of my current form as well as a sign of what’s going to be achievable. Based on how Petrópolis went, I can take away a lot of positives and I feel pretty confident going forward.”
The XCO MTB World Cup is a series of races in different locations. How much does it help to have experience and how do you go about controlling every single little detail to make sure everything is tip-top?
“Racing the World Cup circuit is a massive commitment. Travelling to each round is exhausting, plus you’ve got to consider that there are also other races outside of these that you need to perform in too. Experience definitely helps when it comes to managing all the variables in the best way possible and making sure you’re always competitive. It’s about taking care of the details, which are those small differences that can lead to a great result.”
Do you have a favourite World Cup? Is there a particular race that you want to do well at?
“Weirdly, the course I’ve enjoyed most was Mont-Sainte-Anne in Quebec, Canada. It’s a bit weird because I was super young when I did it, and Mont-Sainte-Anne is probably the most historic course in World Cup history. It must be something to do with the legendary MTB races that have taken place there. Competing on the same tracks is mind-blowing. Having said that though, this weekend’s course in Petrópolis is nothing like Mont-Sainte-Anne and I still really like it. It must be a good omen!”
How well do you get on with your teammates, Giada Specia and Simone Avondetto?
“It helps that we’re all more or less the same age, especially before a race. It means we’re able to be really serious and concentrate when we need to, but also able to take it easy and have a laugh when needed. It feels like there’s a great atmosphere at Wilier – Pirelli for the World Cups, which is the best way for us to all keep improving and race at our best. Giada, Simone, and I make a good team!”
As bike handling is so important in XCO MTBing, how much does a bike like the URTA SLR help you on this front?
“I think that the URTA SLR is the ultimate rig for all nine of the World Cup races, especially given the variety of the tracks. It is super lightweight and responsive, which really helps you get to grips to every sort of terrain. I remember being super impressed with the URTA SLR the very first time I rode it and since then it has confirmed my first impression over and over again.”
THE BIKE OF THIS ARTICLE
URTA SLR – BLACK MATT
URTA SLR is at the height of Wilier Triestina’s evolution in the mountain bike sector. A top-tier bike made to provide a more technical and leading-edge cross country cycling experience. The frame has been designed to reach extremely high levels of traction and stability. Thanks to its reliability and efficiency, it is the best solution for those who strive for top performance on XCO/XCM courses.