Over the past few seasons, Cycling Team Friuli have begun to establish themselves as one of Italian Cycling’s top U23 teams, even launching star climber Matteo Fabbro to the WorldTour one year ago.
For 2019, the team has big ambitions, as it plans to become more than just a local team, as they seek to apply for Continental status. One of the brightest talents on the team is Massimo Orlandi, an all rounder who climbs very well.
U23 Cycling Zone caught up with the soon-to-be 20 year old to put some questions to him about his career as a rider so far.
“This past season was fun because I collected some important successes and it was also very interesting because it made me understand better what my strengths are and where I have to work on. Unfortunately, I crashed in the best time of the season at the Giro d’Italia U23 and I was forced to stay still for three weeks. Working hard, I recovered quickly and I started to get good results, like the 7th place at the GP di Poggiana, another important race in Italy.”
Massimo mentioned a few of his top results, but he left a few out too. He recorded a stage win in the uphill ITT at the Carpathian Couriers U23 stage race, as well as 7th in the GP Kranj one-day race, and ended the year 9th overall at the Tour of Romania, whilst working with U23 Cycling Zone interviewee and teammate Mattia Bais. Despite his mix of results, Massimo says it is the one-day races he enjoys more.
“I prefer one-races with a lot of climbs, and I think I’ve improved a lot in stage races.”
Another highlight of his 2018, a reward for his good results, was a spot on the national team at the famous Italian one-day race Giro dell’Emillia. Massimo talked us through his first ever race against WorldTour riders.
“I recently raced the Giro dell’Emilia with the Italian National team, the first time I have went against a lot of WorldTour teams. it was a fantastic experience to race next to great champions like De Marchi, Nibali, Simon Yates, Uran and the rest. Between us U23s and the pros, the speed uphill really changes, but especially in downhill they are faster. The race was longer than what I am used to, but I found myself doing well anyway.”
While his team have yet to be granted their UCI licence yet, there appears to be no reason why they should have their request denied. Massimo spoke about the benefits he would receive if the team steps up a division this winter.
“Having a UCI Continental licence is very important because it allows you to ride races where there is a very high level, and I think that can only allow you to improve; CT Friuli does not have this licence yet, but we still do many important races in Austria, Slovenia, this year we did the Carpathian stage race where I won a stage, and the Tour of Romania, where I was 9th in the general classification.”
Massimo clearly sees himself as having made some big strides this season, and he hopes to continue to do that in 2019, where he has set some lofty goals for himself.
“The 2019 season will be an important year for me, because I need to show myself and because this year, apart from some accidents, I have improved a lot. This makes me hope for the next year, and I would like win a stage race.”
As an all-rounder, Massimo says there is not always a set race he can win each year, in the way climbers, sprinters and Classics riders can. But as a proud Italian, there is always one race in which he dreams of raising his arms.
“My dream if I became pro would be to win a stage in the Giro d’Italia.”
U23 Cycling Zone wishes to thank Massimo for taking time out of his offseason to do this interview with us, and we wish him all the best for 2019. We also wish to thank CT Friuli’s Simone, who helped set the interview up. You can follow the team on Twitter at @CTFriuli, whilst Massimo can be reached on Instagram here.