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Trek’s rising star Nizzolo sidelined with tendonitis

The 27-year-old Italian is a strong sprinter and classics rider.

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FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Trek – Segafredo’s rapidly rising star Giacomo Nizzolo must delay the start of his 2017 season due to tendonitis. The Italian champion says he “won’t cry about it,” even if it means heading to the classics under-prepared.

The 27-year-old from Brianza, Italy, north of Milan, rocketed through the second half of 2016. He looked ready to complement Trek’s new hire and German star John Degenkolb.

For now, those plans are on hold. He skipped the Tour de San Juan and then called off his Dubai Tour participation Monday night.

“How do you feel? Everybody is asking that. I usually answer the same way: ‘Well, except for the knee,'” Nizzolo wrote on his website.

“I hoped it would be behind me by now, but this tendonitis is proving harder to beat than I thought. I am not in bad pain, but an ailment is there — more or less intense depending on the days — suggesting me to think twice before pushing hard on pedals.”

The Dubai Tour starts January 31. Nizzolo explained that he will likely skip the Volta ao Algarve as well, which begins February 15.

After the team camp in along Spain’s Costa Blanca in Calpe, Nizzolo returned to Italy and stayed off his bike for two weeks. He is visiting an osteopath for Tecar laser therapy.

“The doctors advised me to continue with the therapies. That’s what I am doing, and I think it’s slowly getting better. I have another visit scheduled on Tuesday: if the outcome is good, I will get back on my bike on Wednesday,” Nizzolo added.

“Ironically, according to the pre-season schedule, I should have made my season debut [Monday], at the Tour de San Juan. It is hard to stand out looking, but I am now experienced enough to know that playing down some indications from your body is not the best option on the long term.”

Trek has multiple cards to play in the upcoming sprints and classics.

General manager Luca Guercilena secured 2015 Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix winner Degenkolb to lead the classics squad for 2017 after Fabian Cancellara retired. Nizzolo, who climbed through the Trek ranks under Guercilena’s eye, will also have his opportunities.

Nizzolo has improved steadily over the past five years. Last year, he came close to winning a stage multiple times in the Giro d’Italia. He even did so briefly in Turin, but the party was short-lived when the jury regulated him for irregular sprinting. He joked during the Giro, “Karma is against me.”

The upside was that he came away with the red points jersey and a newfound grinta. With that, he flew through the remainder of 2016. He won the GP Argovie, the Italian national title, the Coppa Bernocchi, the Giro del Piemonte, and an Abu Dhabi Tour stage.

“In the first part of the season I didn’t win what I expected, but I felt I had stepped,” Nizzolo said late last year. “Then in the second part of the season I got the results I wanted.

“My goal is to improve in the classics over the next few years. I don’t consider myself just a sprinter. Maybe I do not have much experience in Flanders for example, but I’ll do it and see what happens.

“With Degenkolb? We’re both sprinters, but we won’t have any problems.”

Guercilena said Nizzolo’s best chances are in Milano-Sanremo, Ghent-Wevelgem, and E3 Harelbeke. For now, any thoughts of winning are on hold.