At 42, Matteo still had what it takes to race at the WorldTour. His principal job this year was to keep Alberto Contador out of trouble on !lat stages and be there as a bodyguard. He never let us down. You couldn’t expect him to get over bigger climbs and be there late in the race but we DSs and he himself knew what he could do and so he was deployed accordingly. With 30-odd Grand Tours under his belt he wasn’t bouncing o! f the walls with enthusiasm and, yeah, he could be a grumpy old git sometimes but if he put his hand up and said he’d do something, you knew damn well that he’d do it.
There are a thousand guys out there with the same physical ability but you can’t count on them to do the job he does. Maybe they have another agenda, mentally can’t hack it, want to be good the day after or they’re worried about getting eliminated. Tosatto was the opposite. There were certain stages that had a 2"3km climb in the end, which would normally be beyond him physically. Somehow he managed to get there to help. You’d look at the back of the peloton and other climbers are getting dropped. It just shows you the level of physical and mental e! fort he puts in.
Matteo was obviously disappointed not to go across with Alberto [to Trek-Segafredo]. His enthusiasm may have waned but you can see that cycling still matters deeply to him. If he comes back as a DS, with all his experience I’m sure he’ll do brilliantly. He still has a lot to o! fer cycling.