Glorious return to cyclocross for Van Empel
Fem van Empel has marked her return to the field with a victory. The 21-year-old...
Edoardo Affini took his first professional victory at the Tour of Norway in 2019, followed by a bronze medal at the European Time Trial Championship and a stage win in the Tour of Britain. The 24-year-old Italian is looking forward to showing himself again during his third year as a pro.
How does the switch to Team Jumbo-Visma feel to you?
"Very good so far. After some good conversations with Merijn Zeeman and the other coaches, I quickly realised that this team offers me the best basis to develop further as a rider. I am still young and I have only been in the WorldTour for two years, so there is still plenty of room to improve. I would like to get even better at time trial and achieve good results. I am also looking forward to assisting my teammates achieve big goals. Hopefully the focus on my personal development will help me get good results, for myself and for the team. During the preparations for the new season I already feel that this team is the right choice for me."
How are the preparations going?
"Very well. With this team, I started training differently than I did before and this transition is actually going very smoothly. I already notice that it has a good effect on my physical performance and condition. It is nice to see how easily I can adapt. I have been looking forward to meeting and getting to know everyone in the team. Building a team spirit, both with the riders and the staff, is very important to me. I was also looking forward to measuring myself against the other riders. When you always train alone, it is nice to be able to compare yourself with others during a training camp."
When did you start cycling?
"I started cycling when I was very young. I would ride in circles in the garden or I would ride around the table in the house. When I was six years old, I already started with small races of one or two kilometres. Now I am twenty-four and I have gone through all categories towards the WorldTour."
What is your most memorable moment on the bike?
"My first professional victory, a stage in the Tour of Norway. It was very special for me that in my first months as a professional cyclist, I was already able to take a stage victory. I also have very good memories of my victories at the European and Italian championships U23. Those wins are generally considered less important, but they were precious wins for me. Hopefully there will be many more memorable moments this year."
What is your favourite race?
"Ever since the first time I raced Paris-Roubaix as a junior, I have been in love with it. I like the course and the unpredictable conditions. Besides time trial, I would like to improve in classics like that, and Paris-Roubaix is a dream race to win. I would also love to ride for my teammates in that kind of races, either as a lead-out in the sprint or as a domestique to keep the leaders out of the wind or pulling at the head of the pack."
What are your expectations for the upcoming season?
"I mostly want to continue developing this season. It would be nice if I could already get some good results, that is what you work for, but given the fact that I have a three-year contract with the team, I see this year more as a first step towards reaching my full potential. Then the good results will follow automatically. This season the focus will be on discovering how I can get the best out of myself."