Manuel Oioli: “This year I fell in love with the cycling atmosphere in Belgium and I dream of the Tour of Flanders”
From Italy, also from the UC Bustese Olonia, the 18-year-old Manuel Oioli has joined the U23 team of the Contador Foundation. The Piedmontese from Cureggio, a town near Novara, has been one of the most outstanding riders on the Italian junior scene, with very good results in the national championships, the European Championships and the World Championships held in Belgium. “Belgium is the home of cycling. The public is impressive. This year I was able to enjoy the World Championships and I fell in love with the atmosphere. A dream is the Tour of Flanders. The Tour of Flanders is a race that I would like to be able to fight one day”, says the new EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team rider. “Also, of course, a Milano-Sanremo. But they are different races. In Sanremo there is a wider range of riders in the fight and to be there you need legs, intelligence and luck in equal parts”.
Oioli, who speaks fluent French, English and Spanish, is a cyclist partly thanks to his grandfather Ferruccio. The ‘suo nonno’, a regular cyclist, used to go out with him in those childhood days when his sporting practice was more focused on football, where he played goalkeeper, just as his father had done. “I was five or six years old when I started riding regularly. Then, when I was seven, I started competing. My first club was Polisportiva Nuovi Orizzonti, where I met Edoardo Alleva. Edoardo is a great friend, we’ve been together for half our lives,” he explains. Nicole, his younger sister, four years younger, competes in rhythmic gymnastics.
His arrival at the Foundation was very special for grandfather Ferruccio. “When we used to go out together, I pretended to be Contador and he was my gregario. For him, my being here now is like a dream, he is very happy”. Although, with a laugh, Oioli confesses that he was not always happy to see Contador compete. “The Fuente De stage, in the 2012 Vuelta, was not a very happy day for me. I was riding with Purito Rodríguez. I like Purito a lot, in a way I saw myself reflected in him: on short climbs he could go very strong, although then he had that point of a rider of laps. I liked him as a rider and I was lucky enough to meet him briefly, because one of my team-mates had a relative who sponsored Katusha. Since then, I’ve always had a crush on him”.
Beyond Purito or Alberto, from still recent races, is there any cyclist, past or present, that Manuel Oioli likes? “For every Italian kid, Marco Pantani is a special name. He has the aura of a legend. My grandfather always spoke to me about Pantani. From my point of view, right now I think Wout Van Aert is the best: he’s strong uphill, he’s strong on the flat, he’s strong in the sprint and he’s also strong in the time trial. Van Aert always goes flat out in every race, he never thinks about tomorrow, he always fights for today. He is an impressive rider”.
Manuel Oioli, whose calciatore times have been made up with some five-a-side football matches in the off-season, faces the jump with the intention of focusing on cycling for a while. “This year I have to face the maturitá, at the end of the course, and I’m still studying at the Language School, where I’m in the fifth year. Once I pass the maturitá I don’t think I’ll continue at university for the moment. I want to focus exclusively on cycling”. Oioli defines himself as a passista with a more sprinting profile. “I feel like a fish in water on hills. My last victory of the season was a bit like that: a hard finish of about 500 metres uphill where I started and managed to impose myself. I pass the climbs, but only if they are five kilometres or so. I have a harder time with the bigger climbs”. Inter Milan, the club he loves, always offers him the opportunity to keep up to date with the latest football news.
But he is not only a football fan. Oioli also confesses that he loves cinema. “I can’t really lean towards a specific genre, I like the cinema itself. I do have some directors I like a lot, like Tarantino, Scorsese or Nolan. Although I watch a lot of thrillers, I also like very different films. I like a film, not its specific genre.