Maris Bogdanovics, 28-year-old Latvian athlete, returns to wear the jersey of Amore & Vita – Prodir. It will be a key pawn for sprints and above all, a thick shoulder for Davide Appollonio.
But let’s take a step back:
During the 2017 season, team manager Cristian Fanini was literally impressed by the power of this sprinter, seeing him win stages in China (Tour of China and Tour of Fuzhou) and then also in Estonia (Baltic Chian Tour), and so, he had convinced himself to bring him to Italy for the 2018 season, focusing a lot on him. Unfortunately, however, the mighty sprinter from Riga had disappointed expectations, mainly due to a bad form of mononucleosis, diagnosed late that consequently compromised the performance of the entire year.
The result was: season to forget and roads that eventually split in a friendly way.
Bogdanovics after such a difficult season decided to look for new stimuli elsewhere, going to Asia, in the Japanese team Interpro Cycling Academy, starting again with humility and determination, with the knowledge that he has taken a step back, but with the certainty of having the skills and the cards in order to return the one that in 2016 and 2017, had impressed for the explosiveness in which he had dominated so many sprints.
2019 had started very well, with a good success obtained at Tor de Tochigi 2.2 in Japan and other top ten finishes in China and also in 2.HC race like the Tour de Langkawi.
But then, in the second part of the season the team began to have financial problems and Bogdanovics found himself practically forced to return home, taking part only at smaller races, however winning some, but no longer with the right motivation that should drive instead a professional athlete.
Despite this further unfortunate event that could definitively end his career, several continental Asian teams had nevertheless come forward with tempting economic proposals to have him in their ranks in 2020.
However, the Latvian sprinter’s intention was to return to racing at the highest level, in the cycling that counts, to collect those results that in 2018 and 2019 had missed him and thus erase the bad memories.
So, that’s how Fanini came back into play and as a challenge lover, he answered The Call of Bogdanovics.
The team manager did not back down, and came to an agreement that will see him again wearing the A&V jersey for next season.
“I felt a sense of incompleteness with this athlete – explains Cristian Fanini – something that had remained in half and that had left a bitter taste in my mouth. You see, Maris was supposed to ride with us again this year, we had a verbal agreement and everything seemed right. The results in 2018 were definitely missed, but I knew that there were reasons. He was feeling bad and for quite a long time, and he was racing unconscious with mononucleosis, going to consume himself irreparably for the rest of the season. When it came out the problem was too late and all was compromised, but I was willing to give him another chance. However, a few days before signing the contract, he just told me he thought that our racing calendar was too hard for an athlete with his skills and so he preferred to go racing in Asia, where instead there are many more races with a more affordable level for sprinters like him. Actually, I didn’t agree very much, because I felt (and still think) he is on the same level as an athlete very similar to him, Emils Liepins (his former lead-out man in 2016 and 2017), who after two years of racing between France and Belgium (also winning a stage at Coppi and Bartali in 2018), managed to sign a world tour contract for the next seasons with Trek – Segafredo. Anyway I let him go and now I don’t deny that I was very satisfied when he called me to give me reason. Maris told me that he wanted to start again with us despite the many Asian offers, because he believes this is the best opportunity to find a spot in cycling that matters. Today he knows that this is probably his last chance. The most important of all, and he doesn’t want to fail. He’s very motivated and determined and that’s why I decided to take him back. Then history tells us that those who have returned to our team have always won some good races (from Gavazzi to Danilo Celano). In addition, it will be a fundamental man for the train of Davide Appollonio. Davide is the team leader for the sprints, so I expect Maris to make himself available whenever the opportunity arises, but at the same time he will have the chance to play his own cards. So it will be an important reinforcement and we are all proud to welcome him back, expecting a season that projects him where he deserves. His debut, like that of the entire team, is scheduled for January 26 in Argentina at the Vuelta San Juan International”.