What a talent! He is only 21 years old, but has now completed a full season at World Tour level. Luca was an incredibly talented youth, winning many races, including the 2009 Junior European Championship. Lampre signed him up soon after. Instead of continuing to ride under 23, Lampre got him involved in big races, immediately.
This season wasn’t about results, but continuing to grow as a cyclist and learn. 2014 should see him start to fulfil his potential and take on more responsibility in the team.
Here is my interview with Luca:-
You have just completed your first full season racing with Lampre-Merida. How pleased were you with 2013?
It was very important for me that I learned a lot, this year. I really struggled, especially in the early season, then I realised the mechanisms and in some races I could speak my mind and show myself.
You did well at the Eneco Tour, finishing 23rd. It was a very hard race, with many difficult climbs. What did you think of the race?
I knew I was in good race condition in San Sebastian, with a long breakaway. I was racing without pressure to make the rankings, and the route was suitable to my characteristics. I was happy with the way it went.
Have you noticed an improvement in your fitness?
2014 will be very important for me and my growth and I’ve been training hard since November. A year and more with Lampre and I feel both physically and mentally stronger.
You were in Tenerife training with Ulissi, how did it go?
It went well. We trained in the heat for two weeks on routes with many beautiful climbs, in the company of a great group.
You were a very successful junior, winning the European Championships, how difficult is the transition to professional?
For a cyclist who is used to winning a lot, you get to the professional level and do not see results. It can be very difficult and maybe get you down a bit, but I know that with more experience I will be able to be compete with the best.
You are soon to travel to Australia for the Tour Down Under. Are you excited about riding in Australia?
It will be a nice experience. Personally it’s my first visit to Australia. We’ll train in the heat and will do good preparation for the Tour Down Under.
What can we expect from you in Australia?
I have worked hard in the Winter and if there is a chance, I hope to take it.
What races suit you best?
I dislike races with climbs that have inconsistent gradients. I defend well against the clock.
You did Paris-Roubaix in 2013, what did you think of this great race?
It is a very tough race, the pave hurts a lot! I now believe it is not a race for me, but in the future I’ll be back to try again.
In 2013 you raced in China, Japan, Spain, France and Switzerland. Are you enjoying yourself?
They are places where it’s always nice to go visit them, but racing there means that you cannot even see the fine scenery!
Lampre-Merida have many talented young riders: you, Polanc, Cattaneo are 3. What can we expect from you in the future?
Young people are the future of cycling, I personally believe that you will see good things.
Will you make your grand tour debut in 2014?
No, it’s still early. Personally, I would love to do the Giro or the Vuelta, we’ll see along the way.
What is your race program?
My debut in Australia, then some races in Italy. I will then compete in Paris-Nice and the Ardennes. Then we will see.
What are your goals for 2014?
Do well, be supportive to the captains, and take away some personal satisfaction.