Diego Ulissi and Elia Favilli eager to get going with Lampre-Merida
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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Diego Ulissi and Elia Favilli eager to get going with Lampre-Merida

by Ben Atkins at 3:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Blue-fuchsia team’s 23-year-olds focus on clear targets for 2013

diego ulissiTen of Lampre-Merida’s 27-strong roster for the 2013 season are under the age of 25; two of those are Diego Ulissi (pictured) and Elia Favilli, both of whom hail from the Tuscan town of Cecina. The former is set to start his fourth year in the blue-fuchsia colours, while the latter begins his first, after two years in the equally unmistakeable ‘giallo-fluo’ of Farnese Vini-Selle Italia.

Although they were born and raised in the same town, the two riders have very different strengths, and both riders are focusing on clear targets in the coming season.

Unable to match the stage victory he took in the 2011 Giro d'Italia - his Grand Tour debut - Ulissi improved his overall placing from 40th to 21st in 2012; he will aim to go even better in this year’s Grand Tours.

“For a young rider like me it will be tough to compete with the big names in a three week race,” he admitted to Fuori di Bici, “bit to get closer to the top of the classification will still be one of my goals.

“First of all, I will try to do well in the Classics,” he explained. “Already last year, I was often in the front, and to reach the podium in one of the Ardennes Classics would be extraordinary.”

Ulissi’s season will begin a little earlier than usual, as many of the European peloton chose to get their legs turning in the warmer Januray climate of Argentina.

“I’m starting off at the Tour de San Luis,” said Ulissi. “In February, I’ll do [Trofeo] Laigueglia and [GP Citta di] Camaiore.”

Once his European season has begun, Ulissi will once again favour France over Italy, however, as he starts his first WorldTour events of the year.

“The Tirreno? No!” he exclaimed. “Like [last] year I will go to Paris-Nice where will I find the routes that I like so much.”

Favilli is taking his step up to WorldTour level very seriously, as he trained right through the festive period. Last spring’s performance in Belgium and the Netherlands indicate where many of his talents lie, having finished 22nd in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, sixth in the Scheldeprijs, and 13th in the Amstel Gold Race.

“I even trained on Christmas Day,” the 23-year-old told Fuori di Bici. “For a cyclist, there are no holidays.

“I’ll be there in the Northern races to lend a hand to Pippo [Pozzato, who also joins the blue-fuchsia team from Farnese Vini-Selle Italia - ed]; it won’t be easy to stay with him in those finales, but I will give everything.”

For Favilli though, as he takes the big step up after two full seasons at Professional Continental level, his short term ambition is simple.

“My dream for the season? I haven’t yet won as a professional,” he said. “Any race would be fine; just to get off the mark would be a dream.”

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