Diego Rosa is ready to embark on his new professional adventure. The 32-year-old has signed a contract with Eolo-Kometa, a team that will allow him to return to have more space for personal ambitions, after his experiences in Astana, Ineos and Arkea-Samsic, where he had to put himself at the service of the captains. The class of ’89 therefore chose to land at the court of Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador to rediscover the possibility of looking for results in the first person. The editorial staff of SpaceCycling interviewed him in view of the start of this new season, the tenth as a professional. Below is the complete interview, an excerpt of which is available in the episode of SpazioTalk of this week.
How do you rate your experience in 2021?
There isn’t much to say, I ran very little and I didn’t have much time with the team. One of the last races was in Burgos, then I stopped racing.
Why did you choose Eolo-Kometa to continue your career?
As soon as it arrived in ProTour, it is a team that immediately made itself known as a formation in which you want to do things well. It is a quiet, peaceful environment, just what I was looking for. And it’s an Italian team. This makes everything a little easier. Then I spoke for a moment with Ivan and Alberto, the ideas were common. Finding a deal was easy.
What expectations do you have for this new experience and what role will you have?
We haven’t talked so much about a role. As I have said in other interviews, I would love to have fun running again. I will no longer race with a great leader as I have done in recent years: in Astana, Ineos and Arkea I always had GT riders in the team and I worked for them. When you can run for you, on the other hand, you can interpret the race as you want, I will have more space and I will have the opportunity to do something on a personal level. Maybe go on the run, do what I want.
But does that mean you’ve lost some of the fun on the bike?
At some point you have to make a choice. I realized that I am not a winner, that I lack a bit of chivalry to be a real leader, and consequently I took a step back and put myself at the service of those who are really strong. Years go by and in the race you find yourself doing what others ask of you. You no longer feel the race as a race but as doing your job. As a result, you can lose motivation.
Those who follow you, however, still have in their eyes the good placings obtained in Lombardy with the Astana shirt. You were second in 2016, fifth in 2015. Do you expect to still be able to compete at that level in those races, now that you may have more freedom?
In Astana I had found a perfect environment. We worked for the captains, but the captains were great friends. As a result we enjoyed ourselves. There was always a mix: every now and then you had space, every now and then you worked for the captains. I ranked at the Dauphiné with Aru in the team. They always kept you on your toes a little bit, you had a chance every now and then. When the environment is right, you work well and you want to do it, the results arrive. I am convinced that they will also arrive in Aeolus. What results and in what competition I don’t know. Races like Lombardia are at the level of a world championship. In the meantime, I’d be content to be competitive in the slightly smaller races, then we’ll see.
Have you already established a rough timetable for 2022?
I should have started in Argentina, but the San Juan is out. A great start (laughs, ed). We are talking about it, I will probably do something in Mallorca, then Andalucia, Laigueglia and Tirreno. This will be the first part of my season.
Italian cycling is experiencing a period of transition. Is there any advice you would like to give to young people? You were launched by Androni, therefore by one of the historic Italian teams.
Cycling has changed a lot since I went pro. Especially for young people. I have a junior brother. I remember that when I was a junior I used to go out on a mountain bike every other day, but he trains with the power meter, the team coaches… It’s completely different. Now the youngsters move into professionalism who are already ready. Probably my approach, very calmly, first with the Androni and then with the various steps to grow, would not go well now. I went pro in the second elite year, now it is very difficult to go pro when you are already an elite. The Italian teams are welcome, but young people, if they have the chance to go to the World Tour as young people, must go there.
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