ITALIAN NATIONAL CHAMP HEADS FOR COLUMBIA-HTC
December 07, 2009
Talk to any professional racer and you'll quickly find out why Italian National Time Trial Champion Noemi Cantele is rated so highly in the peloton - and why she's one that Columbia-HTC signed for 2010. Eight years a pro, Cantele believes that a large percentage of the bunch will have been witness to at least one of her trademark early-race moves. "I'm a very restless sort of person, so I guess by now almost everybody's seen me charge off the front in the first couple of hours," Cantele explains with a laugh. "In fact, in the bunch my nickname is 'Little Crazy Horse' because I always want to get away so early." The new Columbia-HTC rider says that as a teenager she was sure that competitive cycling would be part of her future. Her family put the idea into her head from an early age. "I got my first racing bike at two, when I was so small I could barely reach the pedals," the 28-year-old from Varese in northwest Italy recalls. "Then when I was nine, what inspired me even more to take up racing was seeing [Italian champion] Gianni Bugno winning the uphill time trial [and the overall classification] in the Tour of Italy."
From that moment on, Cantele was hooked. She turned pro in 2002. Currently sixth in the UCI World rankings, Cantele's two biggest wins to date are twin victories in GP Ouest Plouay World Cup round in 2005 and 2007. This year overall it went even better. She won a stage of the Tour of Italy, the national time trial champion's title and then took two medals in the World Championships: bronze in the road race and silver in the time trial. "The results that surprised me the most this year were the time trials. I never used to like them. They ask for a lot of self-control for an aggressive rider like me," she recalls. "In the last year or so I've changed my training and things have got a lot better in the time trials. But if anybody had told me I'd get the silver medal in the World Championships, I'd never have believed them!"
Her next big step will be riding with Columbia-HTC in 2010, a choice she says which was logical because "they have the right values for our sport in all sorts of ways. They win races, they have a lot of fun and they're very united as a squad. They have an attitude toward racing that I really like and admire."