Racing again – Nove Mesto World Cup

20 May

Sort of racing anyway. I’ve missed this so much and I wouldn’t thought that my 9th participation at the World Cup in Nove Mesto na Morave will come again. It’s so emotional for me and it brings me a lot of great memories.

For sure I would like to have a few races before this to be more prepared but during these hard times I will take it. Elisei, my good old friend and ex team mate decided to come with me and offer his support to whatever I need.

I felt prepared because all the winter training went good without to many setbacks.

We left Romania, as usual by car, on Thursday morning (5 a.m.) and arrived in Nove Mesto after 12 long hours of driving in the rain. Had to wait for the Covid test again in the rain for more than an hour even though we had a time frame reservation. Friday was my first day of training on the course, and guess what? More rain.

I think it’s worth the mention that this was Romania’s biggest participation ever. 10 riders.

Romania’s riders and staff / Photo credit: Traian Olinici

Considering this I had a great grip on with the Schwalbe Racing Ray/Ralph tires, mainly because the rain was washing most of the mud from the rocks and the tree roots had the bark. I was really confident about everything.

Traian Olinici took care and caught me in a couple of amazing shots on the course.

The evening caught us next to the course cheering the boys and girls at the Short Track. Still watching the races on RedBull TV is more entertaining.

Saturday’s weather wasn’t better so to warm up I went up to Cannondale Factory Racing paddock, catch up with the team and had my pink Scalpel signed by the riders.

Yeah, of course Henrique and Mani asked to take a photo, what do you think?

Photo credit: Michele Mondini

The warm welcome boosted my motivation and I couldn’t wait the race on Sunday.

In the evening I’ve decided to let all my emotions to go away so I had a spin around Nove Mesto with Eli. Of course that we couldn’t come back without a short cold session of rain.

It was Sunday, close to the start hour. Everything was ready, at least that’s why I thought, at least went as planned.

At 15:20 sharp we’ve started. What I was most afraid of, a crash right after the start was avoided and I did my best to push as hard as possible. Every single pedal stroke at my best. Right after the start loop I saw that the legs were going well, but I couldn’t breathe properly struggling. Seeing how others are riding away from me and that I couldn’t respond screwed me mentally but I couldn’t give up. This made me push harder so I made a lot of stupid mistakes especially on the slippery roots. A few light crashes caused a lot of time waste so in the third lap Tom Pidcock caught me right before the Cannondale BMX section, Mathieu van der Poel at the top of Expert Climb and Mathias Flueckinger on the AC/DC, trying not to stand in their way. And sadly my race ended there on the 141st position.

Not happy with it at all but I fought as hard as possible.

I like to race, I love to be fast, and I am writing this with tears in my eyes, no matter how much experience do you have you always learn something new and nothing will go as expected. And I am sure that the life still holds great things for me. Most of all I love riding bike and almost every time it humbles me and make me really emotional.

Congratulations to everyone who came in Nove Mesto, everyone who raced because it was one hell of a track on wet. Congratulations to the organizers who made this possible. Many thanks to everyone who helped me during this journey, to my family, sponsors, Eli, Alex in the pit zone, CFR crew, Fabbio, the staff from our Cycling Federation for their trust, Michele and Traian for the photos and everyone else involved. Also I wouldn’t like to forget the “mushroom pickers” from the forests of Nove Mesto for cheering. It’s nice to have 30.000 spectators, but it’s better to have 500 than none.

This weekend I have the appointment for my second dose of anti covid vaccine and then I look forward to come better and stronger. Hopefully more World Cups will come for this season. Hopefully.

Cheers and be safe,


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