Get to Know Valentina Scandolara

Tue 29 Oct 2013

Twenty three year old Valentina Scandolara is an all-rounder who has stood on the podium across several cycling disciplines – road, track and cyclocross. In 2013 the youngster from Tregnago scored the biggest win of her career with a solo move on stage six of Thüringen Rundfarht. Her aggressive and tenacious style of riding captured the attention of ORICA-AIS staff and riders.

While Scandolara matured as a cyclist under the tutelage of her Italian compatriots, she is eager to learn more. Making the switch from her Italian roots to an Australian based team is a big move for Scandolara, but it is one that she awaits with much enthusiasm.

“I was on the best Italian team,” says Scandolara. “I liked our tactics and ways of racing, but ORICA-AIS is the best in the whole of women’s cycling and I want to be a part of this program. I’m looking forward to learning a lot from everyone. This is my opportunity to improve as a rider in every way.”

Nicknamed “Crazy Horse” in Italian for her willingness to take risks, Scandolara lays claim to 2013 as her most successful season.

“This year I reached my most important results and highest level of fitness,” says Scandolara. “In my career, I have won three European championships and also 12 or more Italian championships, but I consider this year as my best.”

Often Scandolara has found herself alongside Amanda Spratt in breaks. Both are aggressive riders who are willing to put themselves at the front of the race. The strength of this duo is sure to pose a threat to the peloton in 2014.

“I think what I do better than others is to attack,” says Scandolara. “I’m not scared to take risks or to be in the front or feel the wind. None of that scares me.”

“I spend a lot of time in breaks with Spratty,” adds Scandolara. “I first met her in Bira three years ago. I noticed when I was in the front, so was Spratty. When I was dropped, so was she. It was funny that we were always together. From there it became a joke, and now it’s a joke that comes true.”

During the off season, Scandolara will spend a lot of time training in Australia getting to know her new teammates and enjoying the warm weather.

“At the end of November, I will go to Australia for the winery ride and camps,” says Scandolara. “I will either leave to race Qatar at the end of January or I will stay the entire month of February for more training. It will be quite different from my last season, and I am very much looking forward to spending the summer in Australia. I hate the cold so I am happy to miss the winter in Italy.”

Scandolara isn’t sure yet what her 2014 race schedule will look like. For the woman who wants to be competitive in every race, this is no problem.

“I’m not a rider who targets certain races before the season,” says Scandolara. “Of course I would like to be going well for my national championships and Worlds, but for me every race is important.”

“I love Bira,” confides Scandolara. “As a junior, it was my first race with the elite women. There is something inside me that loves everything about this race.”

For Scandolara, life before cycling included a mixture of different sports. She was a national champion runner and soccer player. She also enjoyed swimming and riding horses. After cycling, she will turn her attention back to her other love – animals.

“Veterinary medicine has been my dream,” says Scandolara. “Right now, I am studying but not specific do veterinary medicine because that would require my presence at university. Instead of doing something that doesn’t require me to be at school full-time: sciences and technologies for breeding. I love animals. It is my other passion.”