Having already recorded ten wins in their debut season, there is no doubt that Alberto Contador’s venture into the world of owning not just an academy team, but now a UCI Continental team, has been a resounding success. While Trek-Segafredo bound Matteo Moschetti has been responsible for nine of Polartec-Kometa’s wins (Dutchman Kevin Inkelaar grabbed the other), there has been a strong roster behind the Italian that have allowed both himself and the team to be so strong.
With the team being Spanish, there is a strong Spanish core of riders who form the backbone of the team. One such rider is Diego Pablo Sevilla, a final year U23 who has been instrumental to the team’s success, both individually and collectively, as he was on the same team as Moschetti for all of his victories (not counting his ZLM Tour win, where he was racing for Italy).
U23 Cycling Zone caught up with Diego in between the Vuelta a Burgos, where he helped Moschetti grab a stage win, and the Tour de Hongarie, where Moschetti would again raise his arms in a bunch kick.
“This is a very good season. I think I am maintaining an acceptable level with some good moments, and I am trying to be very combative and help the team as much as possible. I am having a very complete calendar and I think it is positive in order to adapt as best as possible to the new category.”
Sevilla arrived at the team with strong pedigree after a good 2017 season with the Alberto Contador Fundacion team, where he was 19th in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and 3rd in the Spanish U23 RR. Another result that proved both GC and Classics potential was 13th overall in the notoriously difficult Tour de Normandie.
While not identifying himself specifically as a Classics man, Sevilla’s strengths are similar to those of the best one-day racers in cycling, including a fast finish from smaller groups.
“I am a complete rider, with a good tip of speed that I can take advantage of in small groups.”
Looking to his 2018 season, Diego has played a supporting role in most races, but has still achieved a lot of personal success. He won the KOM jersey in his first race for his new employers at the Tour de la Provence, utilising that sprint to score points. He then helped Moschetti take a stage in the Tour of Rhodes in Greece, but was consistent enough to finish fourth on GC, just one second off the podium.
Speaking of his employers, Diego commented on what he thinks has allowed Polartec-Kometa to be so strong in their debut season.
“Although it is a new team, in a new category, the project of this team has been in motion for 6 years and there is a very good base behind it. It helps that we are surrounded by great professionals with a lot of experience. And, of course, we have a great sprinter like Matteo and we all knew how to ride in the same direction to exploit that opportunity.”
Polartec-Kometa’s Continental status has allowed the team to mix things up, racing both U23 and pro races. Diego spoke a little about what he thinks going up against the pros while still being an U23 rider has done for his development.
“Where you notice the difference is at the end of the race. The good ones have one or even two extra gears. But I think the most important thing is to keep growing and find my place in the peloton.”
Diego was keen to emphasis that despite the team performing above expectations this year, his personal goal for the season has not changed once. He wishes to be a good teammate and always wants to improve as a rider.
“My personal goal is the same as until now, keep contributing to the team where they need me and continue learning.”
Despite the fact Strade Bianche has only recently become a WorldTour race, it already has an elevated status amongst both current and future pros alike. So many U23s have been keen to stress their desire to win this event. Diego, whose climbing and Classics ability ensure he really suits this race, is no different.
“Strade Bianche. This is because, for me, it is the most beautiful and amazing race.”
Diego has a great skillset and work ethic, and it would not be a surprise if he winds up on at least a Pro Conti team, especially with the arrival of Euskadi-Murias and Burgos-BH in the last season or so. One to watch for sure.
U23 Cycling Zone wishes to thank Diego for taking part in the interview and we wish him all the best for the rest of his season. We also wish to thank Juanfran de la Cruz of Polartec-Kometa for helping set the interview up. Diego is an active Twitter user, so you can keep up to date with him at @Diego_9604.