Italian Diego Rosa says that compared to previous teams Astana and Androni Giocattoli he found new level of training and race preparation when he joined Team Sky this winter.
Rosa will help Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa try to win the win the Giro d’Italia over the next three weeks, May 5 to 28. The race starts Friday in Sardinia, but already he has been impressed by the British team’s setup.
“They looked after us closely in Astana, but it’s another level in Sky,” Rosa told Cycling Weekly.
“Sky is very organised. They don’t leave you without anything, they look after every small detail. The cyclists can just think about riding 100 per cent.
“For example, we have the team house in Monaco. There are 12 of us that live around Monaco and Nice, so it’s good to have masseur or storage and supplies available. Everything is there, it’s a point of reference. That makes a difference.”
The 28-year-old from Italy’s northwest Piedmont region raced the last two years with team Astana working in support of Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali.
Aru relied on Rosa for his Giro d’Italia second place and Vuelta a España victory. Last year, he soloed 100km to victory in the Tour of the Basque Country’s Arrante stage.
Those races meant Rosa spent weeks at altitude on the Teide volcano in Tenerife. He would typically take his road bike only.
“When I looked at my time trial bike and thought about taking it to Tenerife, I didn’t know what to do. In Astana, we just went with one bike. [Team Sky] said, ‘No, it’s not a problem, you’ll have three bikes in Tenerife. You already have your time trial bike there.’ In Teide, I had two road bikes and one time trial bike, already planned to be there for me,” Rosa added.
“In Astana, we had two time trial bikes, but I didn’t always have one at home to train with. Here, I always have a time trial bike at home. Small things, but who knows, maybe I’ll go slower this year in the time trails!”
Rosa laughed and said that Dario Cioni, the team’s Italian sports director, has become top in his mobile phone’s call log.
“It was a new world, I have to understand who does what here. I knew that already in Astana, who to call for equipment and everything. Now, every time, I have to call Cioni and ask who to call.”
Watch: Giro d’Italia essential guide
Rosa raced mountain bikes and slotted well into professional continental team Androni. The second division team allowed him to race the Giro d’Italia twice in 2013 and 2014 before he left for Astana.
“It was a perfect team to start a professional career. I am happy I began there, I had my space, I could do my races and I didn’t stress. I had much fun in that team always on the attack,” he added.
“There was a big difference, for sure, and that’s largely due to the budget. You can’t have all those services like we have. Here, when we go to the hotels, the team brings the mattress, pillow and everything. You need people and equipment to do that.
“Every two years, it seems as though I change. I try to improve. Sky offered me a spot and an opportunity to develop more, I accepted it.
“Astana changed completely this year, new staff, riders and bikes. Every now and then you need to change and it’ll serve them well. It’s the same for the cyclists, to get a new motivation and learn from new sports directors, etcetera. It’s good for your head.”