Damiano Cima he doesn’t want to give up cycling and continues to train. The Brescia player ended his two-year agreement with Gazprom-RusVelo, the team he joined at the end of 2019, after his experience with Nippo Vini Fantini Faizané. It was with the Italian team that he had experienced the most exciting moment of his career, winning the eighteenth stage of the Giro d’Italia in a thrilling final, in which he had resisted the return of the group, after the long breakaway of a three-day day, to conquer the happened for a few meters. The 28-year-old Lombard spoke to the microphones of SpaceCycling of his current contractual situation and of his CicloMercato, given that he is still among the Italians without a contract this season. A part of the interview, which we report here complete, can also be heard in the last episode of SpazioTalk, along with other exclusive content.
Have you found a team for this season?
I am currently without a contract, my agreement with Gazprom has ended. My agents, A&J All sports, are still looking for accommodation for this year.
Last season saw you take a win in the Czech Republic and important placings. Why then hasn’t a call come in yet?
Good question. I do not know. To date, I still don’t know the reason why Gazprom did not renew my contract. I don’t understand and I don’t know why at 28 I find myself in this situation.
When did you know you weren’t going to stay in Gazprom? Did you get an explanation?
In early December. And I didn’t have a clear explanation.
What kind of experience are you looking for at this point? Do you want to show off on a personal level or be at the service of the team?
Over the years I have always done what the team asked me to do. With Nippo I was asked to go on the run, I did it. At the Giro d’Italia I amply demonstrated that I know how to do it. At Gazprom this year I was asked to sprint and I think I did well. I have never been a compact group sprinter, but the placings have arrived. Okay, I’m not a winner in a group sprint, but I’ve never been. I have always tried to do what was asked of me as best I could.
In your palmarès there is also a stage victory in the Giro d’Italia. How do you explain the fact that you don’t have a contract yet? And why did you choose Gazprom after 2019?
Nippo had closed, his sponsors were divided between Israel, Delko and Bardiani. Gazprom presented itself with an important project, close to home, and I am convinced that for me that was the best choice for the future, at that moment.
By the way, 2019 was your most important season.
Yes, not only did I win the stage of the Giro d’Italia but I finished third in the points standings, which I never expected, and I was the rider with the most breakaway kilometers. It wasn’t just a day, but I proved something throughout the Giro.
Are you confident in the possibility of receiving offers? It is as true for you as for Pozzovivo, Minali, Attilio Viviani and the many Italians still looking for a contract.
The situation is not good and it is not easy to find accommodation. Many riders are without a contract. As long as there is hope, I will continue to train and believe in it. Then fate will write what it deems most appropriate.
Did you set an expiration date to continue?
Not at the moment. And I don’t have a Plan B other than being a runner.
However, some sponsors seem to have shown interest in some Italian cycling teams. Are you hoping this will help the movement?
I hope so, for Italian cycling. It deserves to grow and to keep growing. Many Italian cyclists have shown that they know how to hold the Italian flag high.
Is there any message you want to send to those who enter the world of cycling in recent years, also based on their personal experience?
Right now I feel like saying, and maybe it’s a bit trivial, that every year can be the last. Nothing is safe in this sport, personally it is not easy because the situation is still uncertain. Many riders are still without a contract in January.
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