02 August 2020

Elia Viviani vs 2020

Images by Tornanti.cc

The wheels are turning. We sit down for a chat with the Olympic and European Champion Elia Viviani of team Cofidis.

 In a level playing field the smallest details make the difference.
“From the moment the Cofidis project started, in the summer of 2019, one of the first cornerstones was: let’s find the best equipment to race with. Because if you don’t have the best, you don’t win in modern cycling. So, after we chose the bike, when the general manager Cédric Vasseur suggested Fulcrum as wheel supplier, I was immediately enthusiastic. I must confess that in my mind, I was thinking of you”.
This is Elia Viviani. He looks for perfection. Always. This, alongside his undeniable sporting talent, has made him the strongest Italian sprinter in the peloton and amongst the best in the world. His pedigree can be seen in just two wins in his palmarès: gold medallist in the omnium at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and European Road Champion in 2019.
After two years with Deceuninck Quickstep, it’s now time for the partnership with Cofidis, the French team that this year has obtained a UCI World Tour licence and has in Elia its star rider. After the Covid-19 emergency postponed the official start of the season it’s now finally time to jump in the saddle and pin on a number. And we were at Elia’s side, or rather feet, when he came to see us, during a break between training sessions. An unmissable chance to ask him a few questions on the eve of a new season and adventure.


How have you settled in with Cofidis?
“From the moment that I came on board I was involved in all the choices that had to be made, from the bike to the various components. As well as a good sprint train, I asked to work with brands that could provide maximum performance levels and that we could establish a good relationship with. Amongst the first things we looked into were the wheels which, alongside the drive train, are one of the most important aspects of the bike. You can have the best bike in the world, but if the wheels don’t turn, you’re not going anywhere”.
You spoke of a relationship instead of collaboration. What do you mean?
“I know that I can rely on you. I know that on the bike I have the best and this gives me confidence for the individual races and for the season. And I also know who I can speak to and that I can find expertise, passion and experience”.
Does obsessively taking care of the details make a difference these days?
“At a time of specific training regimes, continuous tests and altitude training, when you toe the start line of the most important races, there is an incredible levelling of the peloton’s athletic potential. Obviously in such a situation the smallest details make the difference. Before a race, you get off the bus and the first thing you do is think about whether the bike is setup correctly. If it is, you know you can count on the reliability of the performance levels that the equipment can give you and you have the confidence necessary to do well”.


From this point of view have things for professional cyclists changed compared to the past?
“We have greater technical knowledge, because everyone is looking for those famous marginal gains, in everything. Riders achieve their best performance if they have a certain sensibility in recognising what can make them faster and more responsive. In the past riders would just climb on the bike they were given and off they went”.
What about today?
“There is greater care in choosing the best solution based on the type of finish or sprint. This is why sometimes you will see me race on a bike with your Speed 40 and other times with the Speed 55. We select the most suitable equipment for the course”.
Talking of which. Which is favourite wheel amongst those you’ve been given?
The Speed 55T DB, without a doubt. I like the high profile, the feeling of perfect rolling efficiency that they give you and their aerodynamics. And I like the bike to look good too, and it certainly does with these wheels. Now I’m using the Speed 55 DB in the tubeless version and you can feel their greater smoothness. I think I will use them for some races”.
Let’s talk about the 2020 season. How did you train during the lockdown, without any races?
“During the lockdown the aim was to stay in shape without letting the situation become mentally heavy. In the gym I set up in the garage I built up a daily training routine: one hour of floor exercises, for core stability and abdominal muscles and sessions on the rollers and turbo trainer, which ranged from an hour and a half to three hours. Gym work is fundamental to maintain the peaks needed during the sprints. Once the lockdown finished I started the progressive training. We also did some altitude sessions, to shift up a gear before the first races”.


What do you think this strange and densely-packed season will be like?
“It’s a season that won’t forgive any mistakes, because there will be three months of non-stop racing. My track program, seeing that the Olympics have been postponed, has been put on hold for a few months, but this doesn’t mean that I won’t do any work in the velodrome. The track gives you the pedalling agility that you need for the road”.
What are your goals?
“Milano-Sanremo is my dream race and the first goal of the season. Afterwards I will go to the Tour de France to prove that, after last year’s win in Nancy, I have the potential to win various stages. Then I will have to choose between the classics and the Giro d’Italia. A lot will depend on how I will come out of the last week of the Tour”.
The technical value of the bike is elevated through the interaction with the human aspect of the team. How have you found these opening kilometres with your new Cofidis teammates?
“For a team the move from Professional to World Tour level, as Cofidis has done, is important and demanding. At the beginning of the season we lacked something in terms of team spirit, but I’m convinced that the group is strong, starting from my sprint train, consisting of Laporte, Sabatini and Consonni. From this point onwards we count on making the difference. Technically we have set up the bike to hit the scales at 7.08 kg, which is perfect for a sprinter like me. The developments in tubeless wheels, which we are testing for speed and reliability in order to achieve maximum performance, are very important too”.
Thank you Elia!