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”I do not hide that my big goal is to be strong in the Giro and I want to go to the Olympics. The race in Rio has a course that I checked in August and I think it suits my skills a lot and I can help the national team."

Photo: Feltet.dk

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VALERIO AGNOLI

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10.12.2015 @ 11:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Valerio Agnoli is about to start his fourth season at Astana. The Italian Lazio has just finished a 2015 season in which he achieved some good results in the races like the Tour de Langkawi and the Clasica de Almeria where he could play his own card. He has now set his sights on 2016 and has clear goals for the coming year.

 

“Ultimately, what happened last year is now history. In 2016 there are other goals and other motivations. There is great desire to do well and I'm here because I want to give the best of myself,” he tells CyclingPro.net.

 

”I do not hide that my big goal is to be strong in the Giro and I want to go to the Olympics. The race in Rio has a course that I checked in August and I think it suits my skills a lot and I can help the national team. I believe that I am a rider who has lots of experience and can make a contribution to any captain that will represent Italy. I am a professional with a capital P, and I believe I have demonstrated that year after year. 


”It is a route for Nibali because obviously it is very hard. I regard Nibali as a Maradona since he can create situations that other riders of his caliber can’t, like he did in Lombardy. I believe that the Olympic Games can be won by force but also cunning and cleverness because there are parts where Vincenzo can make a difference.”

 

The Olympic road race is special because even the biggest nations only have five riders at the start.

 

“To have five riders at the start helps our teams the Italians are very strong as a group and have a great team. I think [national coach Davide] Cassani has shown that by doing the mini training camps and even a few races with the national team to allow the riders to get to know each other. I think he's started a large project that will lead to great results,” Agnoli says.

 

Before the Olympics, Agnoli hopes to support Nibali in the Giro. He last did the race in 2014 but that edition ended badly for the versatile Italian.

 

“In 2014 I almost ended the Giro after the second stage with two broken ribs,” he says. “It is not easy to give the best of yourself in those conditions. Obviously I finished the Giro out of respect for the team, respect for myself and because I wanted to honour the Giro until the end. Riding the Giro d’Italia as an Italian means giving everything and generally I always do every race at 100% because that’s the only way to be a real professional and improve over the years.”

 

In 2015 Agnoli was allowed to ride a bit more for himself.

 

“In 2015 I had personal ambitions and I think I achieved them,” he says. “I had a different schedule than the other years but it was a program that allowed me to achieve some small results for myself which I had not done before. I got a second place in the Tour de Langkawi and a third place in a stage at the Volta ao Algarve. For some, these are races for the second or third band but I believe that everyone should everything in every race.

 

 

”I think confidence and encouragement are the basis of everything for every rider. If there is no head, there is no heart and no soul. That is a very bad thing, and I can clearly say that it is something that I have tried. I believe that you get the desire to ride and make sacrifices when you achieve results.”

 

Agnoli wants more of the same in 2016.

 

“I do not hide my personal ambitions,” he says. “On a personal level I would like to get results in the races that count and of course to bring my support to the leader for whom I'm going to ride. In recent year I already had my personal satisfaction by riding with a captain like Nibali several times. Just to think about the fact of seeing Nibali win with certain actions after having been on the road with him create the emotions that are difficult to explain and understand. 

 

“Then obviously Vincenzo I also have a very special relationship that is more than a relationship between riders. But both he and I have the same philosophy: work is the work while family and family. So what happens at work stays at work and what happens in the family stays there. It can be said that there have been a few niggles but that's part of the job and the family relationship between us is intact. I believe that to separate these two things is very important and personally I am happy to be with him and have fun with him. I consider myself truly a lucky person from this point of view.”

 

One of Agnoli’s highlights was his second place in Langkawi.

 

“I like racing in Asia and if in the future I will have the opportunity to ride there again, I would have no objections,” he says. “Obviously riding around the world is a beautiful thing. I am convinced that in a few years there will be a calendar of events from January to December because the UCI will encourage these countries that are in need of a major cycling event and I believe that by doing so the cycling movement will have greater prominence and also more sponsors. They will have greater visibility during all twelve months. 


”Of course we are sponsored and then we can’t say what is right or wrong. This is the market and I think we must adhere to the market. We are a brand for a country like Astana and I think that to ride all over the world can only be good for the future of cycling. Dimension Data is a South African team and no one would ever have expected that an African team would be on the WorldTour. So I think that riding all over the world can also facilitate the return of sponsors to cycling. For us professionals, it may seem stressful but it is our life and when we turn professional, we know what to do. I do not want to complain, and indeed I am happy if I can help out to making races outside Europe grow, like the ones in Asia or Africa.”

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