By Andrew Hood
America’s latest road world championships team member doesn’t speak a word of English, but that’s not slowing him down.
Guido Trenti, 29, will be racing in his first world championships, but his selection to the US road worlds team has created a firestorm back in the States because he was picked instead of another American.
Trenti’s name has popped up in Euro-side results sheet for years, always listed as an American rider even though he was born and raised in Italy. His stage victory in last year’s Vuelta is recorded as the only American stage-win in the Spanish tour.
Thanks to his American mother, he’s always held a U.S. racing license, but Trenti is pure Italian.
“My mother is from Boston. She came to Italy when she was 21 and fell in love with my father and stayed. She has two sisters in New York. I was born in Italy and I have lived here all my life,” said Trenti, speaking to VeloNews at his team hotel following Thursday’s stage at the Vuelta a España. “I have only been once to America when I was very young. I’d like to go back, but it’s difficult with the life of a professional cyclist.”
Trenti – a strong sprinter who is an integral part of Mario Cipollini’s train at Acqua & Sapone — admits that he took a U.S. license with the hopes of some day gaining a berth with the Americans because he knew the hyper-competitive Italian selection would prove more difficult.
“It’s very competitive to make the world’s team in Italy,” he said. “I thought I would have better chances racing with the Americans.”
Up to now, his contact with the U.S. cycling federation has been limited to annually updating his racing license. Thanks to help from an American friend who also lives in Italy, Trenti had more contact with American officials this year.
It seemed to have worked, but Trenti hadn’t found out he made the worlds team until VeloNews told him this week.
“Last year I was disappointed the team didn’t appoint me because I had won a Vuelta stage and I was in very good shape,” Trenti said. “This year I decided to contact them more.”
Nearly a week after the announcement, Trenti said he still hasn’t received any official contact with the U.S. team.
Trenti says he knows all the top American pros racing in Europe, especially riders like Fred Rodriguez, who speaks Italian from his racing days on Mapei. He said he expects the U.S. team leaders to be Chris Horner, Rodriguez, possibly Antonio Cruz and, of course, himself.
“I’m trying to come out of the Vuelta in the best possible shape I can be in. We will have to wait to see how we feel on the road to see who is the strongest,” he said.
Trenti’s selection has created ripples on both sides of the Atlantic. Americans are peeved that a compatriot was overlooked while the Italian press is already calling Trenti an extra teammate for star sprinter Cipollini.
Trenti shrugs off suggestions he’ll only help Cipollini, his teammate and captain on the Acqua & Sapone team.
“Who knows if it will even come down to a sprint? I will race to win and if I do win, I will be very grateful to the American team for counting on me to race,” he said. “The only thing I would be ashamed of in case I do win is that I never learned English.”