Ahead of the 101st edition of the Giro d’Italia we spoke to the boy from Bassano del Grappa, Gianluca Brambilla. In his first season with Trek-Segafredo and leading the line at the Giro d’Italia with his Colombian teammate Jarlinson Pantano, we found out how it felt to wear the Maglia Rosa back in 2016 and his plans for this season.
Palu: How did you get into riding when you were younger?
Gianluca: I start riding when I was young, but mostly played football at school. I was about 9 or 10 when I stopped running behind a ball and started racing with a road bike.
Palu: At what moment did you realise this would become you job?
Gianluca: I always dreamed that it should became my job and when I was in the under-23 Zalf Euromobil Fior team, high school was finished and I said to myself “OK let’s try 100% cycling for a couple of months and if it works i'll go for it. Otherwise I'll go to university." I think it worked well!
Palu: You are from Bassano del Grappa, how is the cycling there?
Gianluca: Cycling in Bassano is good. It’s well organised with a strong youth cycling scene, plenty of people that ride bikes and lots of routes. But the problem is the viability, like with much of Italy the bike paths are dangerous or don’t exist at all.
Palu: How has your first season been with Trek Segafredo?
Gianluca: Until now my personal season was not super, in the best moment I got pneumonia and I had to stop for 20 days and restart almost everything from zero! The first race after sickness was Croatia and went quite well, but after two months with no competition it was hard. But on the flipside I met a nice big group of people called Trek-Segafredo team and I really love being a part of it.
Palu: Which races are you targeting this year?
Gianluca: My target this year is Giro d'italia, which start in couple of days. After all that has happened we will see what happen and I’m really confident especially for the third week.
Palu: What has been the biggest win of your a career? Tell us how it felt!
Gianluca: My biggest victory was (especially as an Italian) the stage of Arezzo in the Giro in 2016 where I was also wearing the Maglia rosa. It was an incredible feeling, my biggest dream since I was young come true... AMAZING! 2016 was a really big season for me, the mountain stage victory at Formigal at the Vuelta ahead of Quintana and Contador was also fantastic!
Palu: What do you do to relax when you off the bike?
Gianluca: My biggest relaxation off the bike for two years is my baby daughter Asia.
Palu: Tell us about your team bike.
Gianluca: I’m riding a Trek Emonda Disc with a 52cm frame and I love it. It is incredibly light, even with discs. It's 6.8kg, just within the UCI minimum weight.
Palu: What’s your view on disc brakes in the peloton?
Gianluca: I will never go back from discs to normal brakes!
Palu: Where is your dream place to cycle?
Gianluca: My dream place to cycle is a safe place without traffic and dangers of nature!
Palu: What do you miss most about Italy when you are on the road?
Gianluca: What I miss is, of course, my family and my friends… but also Italian food. I love pizza!
Palu: What advice to you have for young riders coming through?
Gianluca: For young riders my advice is don’t forget to have fun on the bike and don’t look at the numbers too much either (watts, kilograms, hours of training).
Palu: Grazie and good luck for the Giro!