News | People's Choice Classic & Santos Tour Down Under July 27, 2020

Diego Ulissi: My dream is to win a classic momentum

I’m sure everyone’s lives have been a little up and down over the past four months and my life has been no different. It’s been like a roller-coaster!

It started with the UAE Tour, for some riders their first race in 2020. The team did a great job during the week with some great victories. But then, something happened that no one was prepared for, COVID-19 took over the world, including the UAE Tour.

We were very lucky that we were quarantined in the UAE because the medical attention and hotel facilities were all top class. However, it was especially difficult for me as my wife was pregnant and gave birth while I was still quarantined in Abu Dhabi! This was one of the hardest times in my life.

After three weeks of quarantine, I was able to fly home to finally meet my beautiful new-born daughter. Since I arrived home things have been good, and I have been able to focus on my family and training. The first weeks, we were unable to train outside, so I spent quite a lot of time indoors and using the new Whoosh software which is a great indoor training tool being developed by the team.

My first competitive race back will be Strade Bianche on the 1st of August. This race is extra special for me not just because it’s my first race back but it’s also in my home country and I will be leading the team. It will be unusual racing on the white roads in August rather than March but regardless of that I’m sure it will be a beautiful race. It will be a little unpredictable because it is several months since we last raced, but I know myself and my teammates have been preparing well. We are all just really happy and motivated to be pinning on a race number again.

Another race I am looking forward to is the Giro d’Italia. I am very happy that this race is going ahead as it’s my favourite tour in the calendar. The Giro is a cultural phenomenon in Italy. It’s a celebration of our beautiful country and shows the unrivalled passion Italian people have for cycling.

My most memorable moment in the Giro was in 2015 when I won a stage in Fiuggi. It was a very long stage of 7 hours and 30 minutes of racing and it was great to win such a beautiful stage.

I am not a rider who looks a lot at statistics, I just go out and give my all and try to improve every time, which I think is all any rider can do. My performances in such a prestigious race will stay with me forever and I’m looking forward to racing again there this season.

One benefit of being a professional cyclist is that you see such beautiful scenery. The landscapes of the Dolomites are wonderful and it’s always very tempting to put down the bike and go for a dip in the Italian sea, but I don’t think my teammates would be very happy if I did that!

My goal in Grand Tours is generally always the same – to help my teammates as much as possible and aim for stage wins. I’m well suited to the uphill finishes and always look to be competitive in stages that suit my characteristics.

I recently turned 31 years old which makes me one of the oldest riders in the team. I try to pass on my knowledge and experience to some of the younger guys, but I am also learning from them too. The atmosphere in the team is very good and it’s been great being back with the guys training.

Due to the hiatus we’ve now got a lot of races in a very short space of time and a congested race schedule which I love! Our management have done a great job in getting us all in top shape and we’re looking forward to pinning our race numbers on our UAE Team Emirates jersey once again.

I’d like to thank the UAE for the care and hospitality they gave us during lockdown and want to acknowledge all the people who took care of us. It is an amazing country and I am looking forward to visiting the UAE again and hope to see you soon!