Filippo Pozzato wants to bounce back after a quiet 2014 season, return to his best and prove to his team that he is not simply a “prima donna.”
“I’m fit, yes. I’m skinnier, yes. It’s so I can look good on the beach!” Pozzato told Cycling Weekly.
“I’m joking! I didn’t change my training, but I changed my diet. I also made sure to begin my season in Argentina and make sure I race in February, when last year I was in a training camp.”
The 33-year old Italian said that he wanted to race more in the early season to be ready for the big one-day races, starting with Milan-San Remo on March 22.
He went quiet when asked about the team’s manager calling him a “prima donna” last summer.
“His attitude towards the team isn’t good,” Brent Copeland said in August. “He is not respectful of his team-mates and the team’s internal rules. He cannot wear his own shoes at will, while all the other use shoes with the team’s colours
“We do not really need prima donnas, we just want racers who act professionally and show their talent. And ‘Pippo’ doesn’t lack talent.”
Pozzato’s wins list includes the 2006 Milan-San Remo, the Tirreno-Adriatico overall, stages in the Tour de France and the E3 Harelbeke. He rode for teams Mapei, Fassa Bortolo, Quick Step, Liquigas, Katusha, Farnese Vini and as of 2013, Lampre.
He placed sixth in Milan-San Remo and second in the Tour of Flanders after breaking his collarbone in 2012. After joining Lampre, he won one-day races Trofeo Laigueglia, Coppa Agostoni and GP Ouest-France in 2013.
However, it went quiet in 2014. His best results were a third in a Vuelta a España stage, third in the Tre Valle Varesine and second in the Coppa Bernocchi.
“My win in San Remo feels like 100 years ago. Can I match it? I’ll tell you after the classics, I’ll see what I’ve done,” Pozzato said.
“I’m good, but to win is hard because the rivals are always stronger and in greater numbers. It’s hard, it’s always hard.
“Peter Sagan for example. He’s not yet won a big classic. It’s hard to win one, it’s very difficult. He was the strongest at the Tour de France in many of the stages, but wasn’t able to pull off a stage win. It’s not always the one who’s the strongest.”
Pozzato’s three-year contract with Lampre ends at the end of 2015. Based on the results and Copeland’s comments, he could leave the team’s blue and pink colours behind.
He said that it is too early to talk about 2016 when 2015 just began.
“Do I looked stressed? My contract is not a problem. In fact, it’s never been a problem to have a contract. It’s important that I ride well, but that’s for myself, not for a contract.”