In the press conference that took place on the eve of the Giro del Trentino Melinda, the absence of Fabio Aru was confirmed. The Astana rider, suffering from flu, was forced to skip an important step in his preparation for the Giro d’Italia. “That’s bad news for him, indeed – said the coach of the National Team,Davide Cassani, who comes to Trentino with a roster built around many young cyclists, which will ride under the protective wing of Luca Paolini, one of the most experienced riders in the peloton. When you are forced to ride the Giro d’Italia with just a few racing days, you don’t have the best morale, but regardless of the change of plans you have to show up at the race with a decent level.”
Even though the much-awaited duel between Fabio Aru and Richie Porte will not be seen on the roads of Trentino, the race remains a key test in the Tasmanian’s preparation for the Giro d’Italia, as stated by Team Sky’s sports director, Dario Cioni: “We regret the absence of Fabio Aru. However, there are many strong riders and teams. We came here because it is an important test, with challenging climbs and finishes, so we will get the opportunity to see how things can go in various scenarios. Porte worked hard during the winter, he looked very strong from the beginning of the season and this race is essential to see what’s his level on the climbs and to avoid those weaknesses that occurred in the past in three-week stage races.”
As for Astana, the team decided not to replace Fabio Aru in the line-up, which means it will have seven riders and a different tactical approach. This was confirmed by Diego Rosa, teammate of the young Sardinian talent and, at the same time, one of the cyclists who made themselves noticed in the first part of the season. “We lack our captain – he said – an this displeases us. But despite that, we still have a strong team and we’re prepared to go all the time on to the attack. This race is very important for us and I’m sure it will help us get at the start of the Giro d’Italia in the best possible shape.”
In the absence of Fabio Aru, Davide Cassani thinks Diego Rosa has a chance to be one of the protagonists: “I’m curious to see him at work in another role than the usual one, of gregario. He’s a very strong rider, which is something I say for a couple of years now. This season he was among the best in Strade Bianche, and last week-end he came just 50 seconds behind the winner in Amstel Gold Race, despite crashing. Pozzovivo will be another exciting cyclist to watch, but I expect some nice things also from Bardiani’s Bongiorno and Zardini, as well as Cunego, who knows the Mocheni stage very well and has the enthusiasm that comes with a new team. Finally, there are my boys, led by Moscon, in a team which also has Luca Paolini, whose valuable contribution and irreplaceable.”
All the riders agreed that the Giro del Trentino is a mini-Giro d’Italia, with the action spanned over four days. A race with a difficult and nervous parcours, which doesn’t led the cyclist catch their breath at any moment. With tough and new climbs, as the Monte Velo, many surprises, like the descent from Redebus, and an important stage, as is the team time trial, where the riders have to find a perfect alchemy in order to put everything into place and to overcome the tension that will arise.
Click here to download the 39th Giro del Trentino Melinda startlist and the TTT startlist