A wonderful opportunity
The ascent to Bormio 2000 hosted a final stage in the 2004 Giro. A short stage, but with more than 4,000 meters of slope and the Tonale and Gavia hardening a menu of 118 kilometers. Damiano Cunego won the pink jersey, which attacked in the final climb to this winter resort of the Valtellina. It is a constant, macabre road, with a cool spot due to the lush vegetation in some stretches. It may not be a route of high lineage and dense history, but the road that goes up to Bormio 2000 is one of those climbs that can be enjoyed. With a smile, Jorge Pastor Terol from Alicante faces the horseshoes. He’s agile, he’s in the lead. The Polartec-Kometa has dismembered in the ascent. The climbers, they’re the climbers. Come in Inkelaar. Ries, the U23 Cantoni, the Eritrean Awet, Juanpe López, Gamper… He has also been a Pastor. The Alcoy native, with Cantoni, also in some ways with a Juanpe who has just promoted the continental team, is one of three members of the U23 squad who attended the Italian training camp.
“For us it is essential that our U23 riders have the opportunity to live with the cyclists of our professional team. If you add to that an environment like the one we experienced recently at Bormio, it’s a unique experience. From my point of view, few teams offer this kind of alternative. I believe that in this respect we are a team that not only offers competitive opportunities to cyclists, but also that other training aspect that also combines travel, living together,…”, says Félix García Casas, sports manager at the Fundación Alberto Contador. Such is the firm commitment of the Fundación Contador with the sports training of its riders. Reaching the professional field is not easy and is not insured. But in this way it is essential that, as far as possible, they have the best material means and the best infrastructures for the best development in their preparation.
That the riders of the lower categories have the opportunity to go to a campus like the one developed this year in the Valtellina is another example of this commitment. “We’re very lucky, yes, that’s what many of our team-mates in the pack tell us,” said Juan Pedro Lopez. Juanpe, who has already enjoyed past experiences as a youth player, has lived the Valtellina stage as a turning point in his career. “It’s a totally different project from most other teams. For the U23 rider to be here with the continentals, as one more, without any problem of adaptation, is something spectacular. We come here to learn from riders who already have a track record in professionals, who have competed in professional careers. We’ve come here to learn as much as we can and see if at some point we can take one more step and get to where they are next year,” said Italian Cantoni, who is 22 for 23, is his fourth year in the category.
The Madrid-born Diego Pablo Sevilla has gone through all the categories of the foundation and his sporting growth has gone hand in hand with the growth of the foundation. In the past, rallies of this kind have also been organised. Sevilla points out: “This training camp comes in the middle of the season, with all it means for the training sessions. For the last three years we have had opportunities like this one, but more focused on the beginning or, in the case of Italy, the end of the season. You came to Stelvio, Gavia or Mortirolo and yes, you enjoy it a lot, but it was worth less because the season was over. Not now, no. It’s good enough for you now. I, at least in my case, the most I can train uphill is half an hour or forty minutes, but I don’t know how a Stelvio would climb in competition, a port of this hour and a half. And here in Bormio, to climb or to climb, there is no middle ground”.
“When you get an opportunity like this, of course people tell you you’re lucky, they ask you about the experience. And nowadays, with social networks, even more so because you have more visibility. It’s not easy to explain. You just live it. Having this opportunity, an opportunity that the team itself gives you, to share experiences and training with the continental team, with Ivan Basso, with Alberto Contador…. You live in the moment, you take the opportunity and squeeze every second,” says Pastor shortly after tasting a climb’something known’ that responds to the name of Passo dello Stelvio.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)