Filippo, 18 years old, and Matteo Turconi, 16, are two hot young talents emerging from the Northern Italian junior scene.
In April of 2023, after two years of consistent victories riding for U.C. Bustese Olonia (on Cinellis!), Filippo was approached by the historical Italian professional cycling team Green Project Bardiani-CSF Faizané who promptly signed him to their team for the 2024 season. Matteo meanwhile this year passes to the U18 category (onboard a Cinelli Pressure ADR), already dreaming of following in his brothers footsteps…
We sat down with them for a rapid fire interview about their passions, obsessions, fears and dreams.
First question: do you dream of being a professional cyclist?
Filippo: [nervous laugh] I always dreamed of becoming one, yes. Now I’ve got my chance!
What do you dream of – specifically – when you dream of being a pro?
Filippo: being in the group. Being next to Pogacar, Van Aert. Maybe to dream of winning is too much in this exact moment. The objective for the moment is to improve.
Matteo: I dream of winning.
What is your greatest strength as a cyclist?
Filippo: I’d define myself as a climber. The harder the race is, the better it is for me. And I’ve also got a good final kick…From a mental point of view my strength is not giving up. I do everything to join back on to the group even in the most difficult moments of the race.
Matteo: Physically I’m a climber, almost a time-triallist. Mentally: I think have a good ability to read the race.
Where do you most have to improve?
Filippo: to reach my desired level of performance I think I have to improve in every department!
Matteo: I think I have to improve my explosiveness and accelerations.
What’s your favourite thing to do on a bike?
Filippo: In a race my favourite thing to do is to attack. To not wait until the end, to not wait until the sprint but to just go, even if maybe I use up all my energy and end up blowing up… It’s these little moments of “folly” that I like the most.
Matteo: In a race my favourite thing is to get in the breakaway. During training my favourite thing to do is a fast descent.
Is training boring?
Filippo: No! Especially not if you go out with your teammates. Training with your teammates isn’t just training, its also the joy of meeting up and sharing. Half the time you’re just joking and chatting.
Matteo: I feel exactly the same way!
Filippo: Van Aert, Pogacar, Van der Poel. Not so much for who they are and what they’ve won but for their attitude, for the attacks they go on. In my own little way I see myself in them.
What’s the most useful thing you learnt as a cyclist in 2023?
Matteo: In 2023 but also 2022 the most important thing I learnt was how important teamwork actually is in cycling. Help somebody one day they’ll help you the next, for example. The other most important thing I learnt was to never give up!
Filippo: For me like my brother it was the value of teamwork but also, this last year, what I had to learn to do was reconcile my sporting ambitions with my academic work. In the evening when you come home from training you just want to throw yourself onto the couch and space out… But you can’t!
How would you describe the atmosphere at junior races in Italy?
Filippo: Last year I raced overseas a couple of times with the national team. Compared to the U18 races in Italy I saw a distinct difference in attitude. Overseas riders started attacking already at halfway. They didn’t want to wait, they weren’t interested in 4th or 5th place. It was all or nothing. In Italy the atmosphere is more conservative. People are more interested in obtaining even minor results. Riders want to wait until the last 10km to make a move…
Matteo: Hardcore. The atmosphere is highly competitive. Everybody is fixated on winning. This is both positive and negative…
What do you like most about racing?
Filippo: The adrenaline in the peloton. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe but anybody who has raced knows exactly what I am talking about. You’re in the peloton and you feel good, whether the race ends positively or negatively for you it’s somehow impossible to feel sad. It just makes me happy to be in a peloton, racing.
Matteo: I feel pretty much the same way. Racing gives you a buzz that somebody who cycles as a hobby will never experience. The adrenaline, the fear of falling…
If you were to describe how your dream race bike feels in ten words or less?
Filippo: Sensitive to the slightest change in input.
Matteo: Reactiveness: you immediately feel the acceleration. But also: aerodynamics, stiffness and weight!
If I say the word “adrenaline” what is the first image that comes to mind?
Filippo: Fast descent in the middle of the peloton. For me that’s the greatest adrenaline buzz possible.
Matteo: Agreed. It’s such an intense feeling. You almost have to make the sign of the cross on yourself before it begins…