“It feels like things are finally taking off. The racing this weekend in Petrópolis confirmed that the blocks of training I did this winter have paid off. I could sense I was in good shape during the Internazionale d’Italia races, but it is always good when it’s backed up on this scale. I feel that the work we’ve put in at Wilier – Pirelli has been great since the start of 2022. It’s a relaxed team to be around and this really helps when you’re feeling the pressure before a big race.”
What made you decide to join Wilier – Pirelli?
“As an athlete, you’ll reach a moment in your career in which you feel the need to change even if things are going well in your current team. There isn’t necessarily a particular need, but it’s motivated by the desire to try out a different approach and see how others work. Out of all the opportunities, Wilier – Pirelli felt like the one with the least stress and pressure to perform, which is the way that’s most suited to me getting the best results possible – I feel at ease and get to focus in the way I need with this team. Even the early part of the season when you’re all-in with training, I could tell I’d made the right choice.”
But as Giada Specia trains hard to defend her National Champs jersey, it’s also inspired her to see how she can take herself to the next level.
“It’s definitely motivating to compete with the Italian flag on my jersey – and you can’t deny how special it is to get on the podium at a World Cup when wearing it. The competition is seriously high, but this result shows we’ve worked well and I’m confident that I’ll be able to deliver on other courses that are more suited to my riding style too. The World Cup in Andorra, for example, is not only raced at a high altitude but also really hard and super technical – this leads me to believe it’s even more suited to me.”
The technical aspect of XCO MTB is increasing each year, meaning riders really have to step up with their bike handling skills. Are you focusing on any particular areas in order to meet these demands? How are you getting on with the URTA SLR?
“The technical nature of the racing has definitely changed. In terms of training, we have to tune it to keep up with the progression of the sport, so alongside normal fitness-focused training, there’s also a big focus on training the ability to ride in technical terrain. We do a lot of this and even here in Brazil in the run-up to the World Cup, we’ve been training on a super techy track with jumps, rock gardens, and really testing sections where you need to ride as quickly and as smoothly as possible. As everything’s so much more concentrated on the technical side of things, this means you’ve really got to feel at one with your bike and properly invest in getting the optimal set-up to deal with the demands of whatever race you’re doing. This is part of our sport, and we have to dedicate more time to it than before. I think that the URTA SLR is really well suited to extremely technical tracks like the one in Andorra, which also suits my style. This thought gives me confidence going forward with the next rounds of the World Cup.”
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