Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Team Preview: Team Colpack

(Foto Rodella)
While Zalf-Euromobil reigned over the Italian amateur scene for the past two seasons, 2015 could see the tide swing from Veneto to Bergamo, where the headquarters of Team Colpack are located. For the last few seasons, Colpack have been nipping at the heels of giants like Zalf and Trevigiani with star riders such as Davide Villella, Nicola Ruffoni, Gianfranco Zilioli, Edoardo Zardini and more. They never led the Italian amateur ranks in wins but they have been in the top 3 for the last 3 seasons. With Zalf on the rebound and the continental Italian ranks growing, Colpack could see their win total soar for 2015 if the stars align.

The big losses for Colpack will be in the form of Manuele Senni, who is heading to BMC, and Iuri Filosi, who is going to Nippo-Vini Fantini. Senni showed himself to be quite the climber with back-to-back stage wins in the Giro della Valle d'Aosta along the way to 3rd overall. Senni put in some strong one-day performances with a handful of 4th places in Palio del Recioto & Giro del Belvedere as well as a great breakaway attempt at Worlds that was halted by a crash on the descent. Filosi has brilliant flashes that made you think he was the next coming but then his form would suddenly leave. He won 4 races including the GC at Peaches & Nectarines and he was an outstanding 6th in the U23 Worlds RR. And yes, he is named after communists. Others leaving the team are ex-pro Andrea Di Corrada, climber Davide Orrico, Pietro Andreoletti (leaving for rival Zalf), Davide Manzoni, sprinter Luca Pacioni and Manuele's not quite as talented brother Michele.

While they are losing two big bullets, they still have a few left in the chambers with more being added. Davide Martinelli and Giulio Ciccone are the two biggest names returning for the Bergamo squad. Martinelli is a time trialling stud who I think could do something akin to Marcel Kittel and turn into a fantastic sprinter. I had been on that bandwagon since early this year and expect more of it in 2015. For those out of the loop, Martinelli is the son of Giuseppe Martinelli, who won stages in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana and is the current manager at Astana though he has signaled that he would like to work with an Italian team in the future, according to at least one Cyclingnews interview.  Martinelli was the Italian U23 TT Champ this season as well as 2nd in the European U23 TT but fell flat at Worlds with just 19th place. He also won the Tour de l'Avenir points competition.

On the other hand, Ciccone is a gifted climber and is currently Italy's best hope in the U23 ranks to become a GC threat. Ciccone was 7th place heading into the final stage of the Tour de l'Avenir before a crash on the Col de la Croix de Fer saw him have to pull out of the race. He was also 6th in Valle d'Aosta overall, which was up from 12th in 2013, and won the KOM competition in the same race. He is already slated to join Bardiani-CSF in 2016 and will look to take a big GC win in the U23 ranks at some point next year.

Fausto Masnada and Edward Ravasi will be with Ciccone in the mountains. Masnada is a pure climber that has been fairly anonymous the past two years with no huge results after a big 2012 including 6th overall in Valle d'Aosta and 5th in Bassano-Monte Grappa.

Leading the sprint train for the squadra nera is Simone Consonni, a winner of 5 races in 2014 as well as a strong track rider who was 3rd in the Italian Elite Men's Omnium. Consonni can make it through a more selective race than some of the bunch sprinters and will be looking to make the step up to larger race wins in 2015. Joining him in the sprint train once again includes Francesco Lamon and Damiano Cima. New for 2015 are some fresh talents including the highly touted Riccardo Minali, son of Nicola Minali and a speedster on the road and track; Attilio Viviani, who is the brother of Elia from Garmin-Cannondale, has won Italian and European championships on the track. Ahmed Amine Galdoune is a Moroccan, which you do not see much in European cycling but he rode with Colpack's junior development team in 2014 including taking a couple of wins in Italy.

Coming over from Zalf-Euromobil are the duo of Seid Lizde and Andrea Garisio. Lizde is a up and coming TT rider who was Italian junior champ in 2013 and 2nd in the Italian U23 TT in 2014. Outside of Italy, he was 7th in the European U23 TT championship. Garosio seems to be a decent climber that isn't a pure climber but might be a decent one-day rider including a 5th in the Alcide Degasperi and 16th in the Piccolo Giro di Lombardia.

The cream of the Italian junior class from 2014 had to be Edoardo Affini. With 9 wins, Affini won the European U23 RR Championship in a two up sprint and also the UCI rated Trofeo Buffoni (three-up sprint) and the Trofeo San Rocco (solo). He finished off his season in 4th place at the World Junior RR Championship. He seemingly can do a bit of everything but if he is anything like star Italian juniors in recent years, he will take a while to find his feet.

Umberto Orsini comes over from Mastromarco and has some pedigree to him that might give him some recognition. Orsini is the nephew of former Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix winner Andrea Tafi. Orsini won the Italian Junior RR in 2012 but he has been more or less anonymous since then.

Simoni Bettinelli and Francesco Rosa are back again to provide some all-around support. They can sprint a little, they can climb a bit...they can get into the top 5 without you even knowing. Not that many pay attention to Italian amateur cycling results.

Also on the team is Oliviero Troia and Filippo Zaccanti but I didn't really have much to say about yeah, they just get a mention.


Wins: 3 UCI wins (40 wins overall)

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