Pro racer tears up 2022 contract to become full-time potter

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A career change from pro cyclist to pro potter is unique, but it’s one that Nicola Bagioli is about to make.

The 26-year-old Italian rider, who is the older brother of Andrea Bagioli, announced in an Instagram post that he would be swapping cranks for chisels (and other tools) to focus on his fledgling pottery business in soapstone with his partner Arianna.

It’s a decision that Bagioli, who had to persuade his B&B Hotels p/b KTM team to let him terminate his contract a year early, admits he’s a little left out but to which he’s fully committed.

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“I have come to a point in my life where I have to choose, where I have to make an important decision and so I have decided to choose with my heart, to make a choice that many may consider crazy, but which for me represents follow a dream, my passion,” Bagioli said in his Instagram post.

“I decided to get off the bike, end my career as a professional cyclist and terminate the contract I had with my team and dedicate myself 100% to Lavéc. From now on, I will be an artisan and I will live by it, continuing to grow this reality with Arianna, to make this wonderful world of soapstone processing more and more known and to value an ancient tradition.

Bagioli has been a professional rider since 2016, moving up to Pro Continental level [now known as ProTeam] with the Nippo-Vini Fantini team. Among his best performances are podiums at the Trofeo Laigueglia and the Ronde van Drenthe, both in 2019, and the mountain classification at the Tirreno-Adriatico 2019.

His decision to devote himself full time to pottery is not as strange as it might seem at first glance.

Bagioli comes from five generations of soapstone potters – who started with his great-grandfather – but his father Roberto gave up the craft after the death of his own father, Renzo. Bagioli – who has a degree in mechanics – first took up it as a hobby, learning from his father, before setting up the Lavéc company in 2019.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me over the years, the teams who believed in me, everyone who cheered me on the side of the road (and maybe even pushed me into some difficult climbs), all the teammates I have had and all the people who have shared with me the joys and the difficulties of cycling,” said Bagioli.

“I would like to thank my last team, B&B Hotels p/b KTM, for supporting me in the best possible way this year (and also for teaching me a little French) and for accepting my choice with great serenity. “

Having made the major decision of his life to abandon one career to build another, Bagioli doesn’t know what the future holds, but he can’t wait to find out.

“What will await me? I don’t know, but I will definitely face it with the determination, consistency and sacrifice that the bike has taught me over all these years,” he said. “With Arianna, we’re chasing a dream, we’re building a small but big reality with our hands, and now we could do it even more, even better.”

Earnest L. Veasey