Filippo Baroncini is seizing his opportunity as a neo-pro
“Were you surprised to find yourself alone at the front of a World Championship?”
Filippo Baroncini laughs. “Oh yeah,” he says. “When I started the attack I saw there was nobody with me. It’s a bit surprising to win with facility.”
Baroncini attacked on the second-to-last climb of the day with six kilometers to go on the 161-kilometer course finishing in Leuven. He had planned the attack before the start of the race, but the fact that it worked so well caught him off guard. It’s one thing to make a plan. It’s another to see it executed flawlessly, beyond your brightest hopes, on the biggest stage of your young career.
“I was thinking that I have to go fast,” Baroncini laughs again. “Just get to the line as fast as I can. Because an opportunity like this, there aren’t too many during life. And you have to catch them.”
Baroncini would win the men’s under-23 World Championships by two seconds over Eritrea’s Biniam Ghirmay. He didn’t need the result to confirm that he was one of road cycling’s rising stars — he had already won the Italian U23 individual time trial championship earlier that season, and taken second in the Italian and European U23 road race championships — but it did shine a particularly bright spotlight on his potential.
Following World Championships, he dealt with a level of attention he was unaccustomed to, interviews and obligations, which interrupted the steady drumbeat of quiet training that had taken him to the top of his classification. In his first season as a neo-pro for Trek-Segafredo in 2022, he’s looking forward to the peace of being a young pro, with no outsized expectations, and no duties beyond racing his best.
I always race free, without thinking, no pressure, nothing.
“I’m looking forward to more tranquility for me,” Baroncini says. “I always race free, without thinking, no pressure, nothing. And this tranquility has helped me become a world champion.”
Success has its benefits. Baroncini was a sought after rider last season. And by joining Trek-Segafredo, he’ll have access to resources he has never had before. As he spoke for this story, Baroncini was at the December team camp in Spain, awash in a world of near constant attention from equipment fitters, massage therapists, trainers and team photographers.
As a rider who experienced a remarkable run of success last season, Baroncini displays impressive calms amidst the hubbub. He’s grateful for the perks, and intent on matching the team’s investment in him.
“For me this is a new world,” Baroncini says. “I think that with the work that they do for us, it’s important to repay all the efforts.
“Team building is the principal thing for me. To learn from the oldest riders. This is of utmost importance.”
Baroncini is one of seven riders on the men’s roster that will be 23 years old or younger this season. Trek-Segafredo has never shied away from budding riders. That nurturing environment was one of the biggest reasons why Baroncini was drawn to the team.
Young riders have possibilities here that they might not have on other teams.
“I’ve seen how Trek-Segafredo works with the younger riders, and I’ve seen that they work really well. They do a program I think is perfect,” Baroncini says. “Young riders have possibilities here that they might not have on other teams.”
He knows what type of rider he is now: A punchy all-arounder with an affinity for short, steep climbs. He’s working hard to take on a more diverse range of course profiles, “so I have no limits.”
For Baroncini, racing with bravado is an act of gratitude, a way to give back to those who have believed in him.
“It’s a big emotion for me to see my friends, my parents, my girlfriend, all repaid for the work that they’ve done over the years,” Baroncini says. “My family never stressed me out if I didn’t have a good result. They always supported me. They gave me tranquility.”
Baroncini has a long career ahead of him, but the path forward is clear in his view. He’s going to attack the opportunity. And if he finds himself all alone in front of the field once more, he’ll be sure to appreciate the moment.