Luca Bagnara: “I really like stage races and that’s why joining this structure is a great opportunity”
20 May 2015. Fifteenth stage of the Giro d’Italia. It’s 153 kilometres between Forli and Imola with a winding route and a triple loop around a circuit that includes the ascent of Tre Monti. In the ditch is an eight-year-old boy, enjoying the big names of this edition of the race. Among them, and on that day wearing the maglia rosa, Alberto Contador. “They were going so fast! Seeing them live, at that speed… it seems incredible,” recalls Luca Bagnara. “That day Alberto also became one of my favourite riders, although I’ve always liked Peter Sagan very much”.
The Italian cyclist jumps from the junior category to the U23 category with the Contador Foundation. In this family from Emilia Romagna, cycling has always been a hobby. His grandfather enjoyed cycling as much as Luca’s father and they even had some experience as amateur riders.
“Ivan Basso had a chat with my sport director Roberto Drei first. He told him about his idea, his plans, the project. Roberto informed me and we arranged a meeting with Ivan in September. At first I was a bit surprised: Ivan Basso from EOLO-KOMETA wants to see me? I was suspicious, as if it were a joke, because in the end an opportunity in a structure like this is something you can consider, even if it’s more like a distant dream. The truth is that it didn’t take me long to say ‘go ahead, of course'”.
“I have followed the evolution of the U23 structure of the Foundation, especially in Italy. Their Giro d’Italia U23, other races… I followed Davide Piganzoli, his season, the Tour del’Avenir he did with the Italian national team… Of course it was obvious that they were working well. And with the idea that Ivan was transmitting to me, to grow little by little, to work and to evolve”, says Bagnara.
When it comes to defining himself as a rider, Bagnara says: “I’m an all-rounder with a more climbing profile. I’m not my strong point in a sprint. I’m very comfortable and at ease on the climbs. In sporting terms, I’ve been very calm so far, without stress. Next year will be the first year, once I’ve completed the maturità, in which I can focus more on the bike.
And what about sporting dreams? “Perhaps a very common one is to win a stage in the Giro d’Italia. I really like stage races, although it’s true that in Italy we don’t have as many stage races as we do in Spain. Joining this structure is also a great opportunity for this reason”.