2 MINUTE READ
Start of the season in the dunes.
Words & Photography by Andrea | Styling by Beatrice
17 February 2022
Outside the window, the desert unfolds into endless sand, interrupted by some occasional rocks here and there. Our hotel is very isolated and we are in the middle of nowhere. What struck me about Saudi Arabia was the kindness and friendliness of the people, as well as the incredible length of the roads and an almost total absence of curves for miles and miles that never seem to end.
Perhaps this is why many people think of the Saudi Tour as an easy race with flat stages.Quite the opposite. There are two uphill finishes, and one is really hard. And the wind was a decisive factor in raising the competition’s degree of difficulty.
I feel pretty good and my condition is good, although of course it’s still not one hundred percent. This year, unlike usual, I preferred to start the season more quietly and then have a peak of form in April and May. So I have focused mainly on strength work and, a few weeks before this race, I also included some threshold or off-threshold work, just to get the body used to the racing pace. After the winter break you always try to get back on track, also in terms of nutrition. Personally, I’d say pasta is a must in my routine. It’s a staple I really appreciate and luckily it’s also perfect for cycling, as it’s a great source of carbs and energy.
There’s still a lot of work to do but when I think about how I spent my off-season, I’m not worried. I tried to enjoy my time with my family and girlfriend as much as possible, I relaxed and cleared my mind. Even during the first training camp, I had a lot of good feelings. As in previous years, we managed to bond smoothly and the newcomers also integrated very well into the group. I’m curious to see Ilan Van Wilder in action. He’s only a year younger than me and everyone speaks very highly of him.
The clock says it’s almost dinner time, I have to get off in five minutes. Time will also be of the essence in facing this season, along with patience and commitment. I confide a secret to these dunes as I prepare for the evening: my dream is to win a stage of the Giro d’Italia.