WorldTeam Filippo Conca takes home mountain jersey in first pro race
At the end of the Tour de la Provence, his first ever race as a pro, Filippo Conca immediately takes home the mountain jersey. At the end of stage three, the 22-year-old Italian took over the jersey from Lilian Calmejane, who crashed and was forced to abandon the race. During the closing stage, the Norwegian Leknessund equalled the amounts of points in the classification, but Conca taking full points atop a second category climb during stage two eventually made the difference. That way, Conca won’t easily forget his first stage race as a professional cyclist.
“I really wanted to be part of the breakaway in order to secure the mountain jersey”, begins Filippo Conca. “During the first 50 kilometres of the stage, the pace was really high and it was quite difficult, if not impossible, to set up a breakaway. Eventually, four riders managed to escape the bunch, but luckily there wasn’t any threat to my mountain jersey. Then, I could shift my focus to helping the team in the final.”
Filippo Conca is of course delighted that he can take home the mountain jersey. It really is a debut of dreams in his first race for Lotto Soudal.
Filippo Conca: “I feel really good within Lotto Soudal. There are a lot of young riders and besides, it is fantastic to learn from the more experienced leaders. For now, I don’t really know what type of rider I am, but definitely not a climber, despite finishing 5th at the U23 Giro d’Italia, twice. I think it is a little too late to turn myself into a climber because for that I would have to lose a lot of weight and muscles. In that case, I prefer to be a little less strong in the high mountains, but more useful on other terrains.”
The young Italian is rather aiming for a career as an offensive rider.
Filippo Conca: “At the start of their career, many riders dream of winning a big Classic or a Grand Tour. I would rather see myself evolve into a ‘baroudeur’ type of rider like my compatriot De Marchi or my teammate De Gendt. To join breakaways, being strong uphill and useful to the team definitely sounds like something for me.”
“Following a slight dip in Italian cycling, a new generation of young riders is very eager to show themselves. With guys like Aleotti, Battistella, Covi and teammate Oldani, a new generation of young Italian riders looms at the horizon. The future of Italian cycling sure is looking bright”, concludes Filippo Conca.
Phil Bauhaus won the final stage of the Tour de la Provence. John Degenkolb sprinted to a fifth place and is satisfied about his shape as the spring Classics are just around the corner.
John Degenkolb: "It was a really successful day for us. We were able to secure the mountain jersey of Filippo Conca and going towards the bunch sprint, we worked together really well. We had a good plan and it worked out quite well in the end. It was a very technical final and we were in the mix. I was a little too far back to sprint for the victory, but still I am happy with this top five result. I am improving every day, even after some days of intense racing, so that is very promising for the upcoming period. Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is up next and from then on, some really important races await for me."
Photo: Photo News