What an amazing season, the 25 year old Austrian had. He was riding for the continental team, Gourmetfein-Simplon, but that didn’t stop him from winning The Tour of Austria, a 2.HC race. In that he beat many World Tour riders and it was possibly the surprise of the season. This wasn’t his only win, others came in Circuit des Ardennes International, Le Tour de Bretagne, GP Judendorf, Oberosterreichrundfahrt, the Austrian RR Championship and Croatia-Slovenia.
This prompted the new Trek Factory Racing team to sign him as a neo-pro for 2014. He looks like being a star of the future as he can climb and time-trial well.
He joins an excellent team, that will surely help his development into a stage race regular.
Here is an interview I did with Riccardo:-
What an amazing 2013 you had. Winning Circuit des Ardennes International, Le Tour de Bretagne, GP Judendorf, Oberosterreichrundfahrt, the Austrian RR Championship, the Tour of Austria and Croatia-Slovenia.
What was your best victory?
That’s true, it really was a great season for me. The most special victory was the win of the tour of Austria because it was a surprise for me and my team.
In the Tour of Austria you were up against good riders like Mathias Frank, CA Sorensen, Matthew Busche, Fabio Aru, Kevin Seeldraeyers and Alexander Dyachenko. How satisfying was it to beat all these great riders?
It really was a great honour to beat these guys because I was almost a nobody before the tour and I could beat them, so it was a great feeling.
The climb on stage 2 to Kitzbühler Horn looked brutal with 25% ramps. How hard was it?
The Kitzbühler horn is a really tough climb because it is so steep and especially the entry to the climb is very difficult because everybody wants to be first. I don´t like these kind of steep climbs but I was happy about the result.
Your excellent results in 2013 have landed you a spot on the new Trek Factory Racing team, how excited are you to ride for such a great team?
Yeah that’s true, I mean it’s a dream come true for me. We’ve already had two camps and I have to say I really feel very well and welcome in this team. It is a really professional team and I have no regrets that I chose this team.
You already know that you will ride your 1st grand tour at the Giro in 2014, what are you goals for that race?
First of all it is not 100% that I will go to the Giro but it may very well happen. If this is the case I hope to survive the Giro because it is something new for me. I don’t know yet what the team’s plans are but we will see.
As a great climber and good time-trialist you must be pleased with the route of the Giro, especially with the tough ITT?
I have to be honest here I haven’t had a look at the course yet. But anyway, I think it will be too hard for me to aim for the the GC.
What other races will you be looking to ride in 2014?
There are a lot but I don’t have my race calendar yet.
What races best suit your skills?
I think the one week stage races. I am good at climbing and in the TT so I think that suits me the most.
Will you return to defend your Tour of Austria crown?
I hope so, it would be perfect but it also depends on the race calendar because if I do the Giro it’s difficult to be good again one month later.
What are your goals for 2014?
First of all I want to get in this professional business and want to learn as much as possible. Hopefully I can do some good results, especially in the one week stage races.