Every time I get a task assigned I prepare myself to take out the best from the new experience. I learnt that also from an easy job, passion, open mind and commitment, can do a huge difference in the result.
When I received the call from Cannondale office asking for a recap of Avancini’s life with the Factory Team, I just start do dig into my photo archive, but I discovered really early it was far from be an easy and fast job.
I guess that many of the sport fans out there are having memories of that victory or that special moment and it could looks quite normal to create a summary of a career.
Of course, if you say: Marathon World Champion 2018, World Cup Winner in Nove Mesto 2020, first Brazilian to win an XCC race in Andorra, stages winner with Manuel Fumic in Cape Epic during the years 2016-2019 and many others continental and national titles winner, you understand quickly we are speaking about a talented athlete, but you miss the most of the story.
I started my research of pictures with 2017 season. Not sure why but, in my mind, I had this year as turning point of Henrique’s career.
That season begun with few changes with the athletes in the team and Avancini had the chance to show his personality. Together with his idol Manuel Fumic, he has been able to leave a sign winning a few stages of Absa Cape Epic wearing the leader jersey and finishing 5th overall.
Probably the good result in RSA convinced him to have the possibility to reach the marathon rainbow jersey in Singen, but he finished far away from the podium. In the rest of the year, “Ave” had solid results in Brazil but he was still missing something to emerge from the top 20.
Maybe it would be better to start the story from the beginning. I started my photography adventure around 2009 but the first jobs come few years later. One of my dreams was to travel around the world taking pictures to the best riders in the circus. My first time in RSA was the World Championship in Pietermaritzburg in 2013
That was the first time I saw our Brazilian superstar riding for a national brand.
2016 for me and Ave was the first time at Cape Epic. My English skills were definitely poor and the only two people I could speak with were the mechanic Giacomo and Henrique, that was speaking also a fluent Italian. This situation allowed to me to build a strong friendship relation with the Brazilian.
I guess that nobody was expecting that CFR would be able to take the leader jersey at the Untamed Cape Epic. I still wonder that the result was also the outcome of the good time we had together in the field.
“The president” was frustrated to miss quite often the goal and he was investing more and more time in the training. During one of the long travels to a World Cup during 2017, I still remember we had a chat about this situation and I ended up with something like “Be sure to not lose your focus, bear in mind that to go up you must before hit the bottom”. Of course, it was not my speech to change the situation, but the light at the end of the tunnel arrived in Cairns, where the three CFR lions missed the podium just for few seconds.
Frustration leaves the place to the smiles. Henrique start the season with renewed energy, South Africa delivers, Top Ten in the World Cups is getting closer and closer, CFR keep jumping on the podium as a team leader and the crowd around the podium is getting bigger and bigger…
Crosscountry Short Track is the real news of the year. UCI, trying to create more interesting format for the fans, popped out with a fast race of 20 minutes that gives the start position for the XCO race.
At the beginning nobody really understood how this race could impact on the weekend, the teams were a bit sceptical about having this show opening the racing weekend. Tactic become clear after a few events and in Vallnord Avancini takes it first win in a World Cup Event.
The dream of a rainbow jersey pass through Italy. This must be a strong sign for him. Auronzo, the place of Marathon worlds it’s really close to the small village where Avancini back in the days based his stays in Europe.
The hardness of the race with the difficult downhill in the Dolomites single tracks play a crucial role for the final result.
When my search landed on the 2019 folder, I had to take a breath. In a race season like that one was definitely hard to chose what to pick and what to drop.
Who says that new energy and good vibes creates a positive whirlpool, is right. I guess everyone involved in team’s life was feeling proud of the overall results and everyone was working hard to deliver the best as it can.
Avancini’s effect was growing fast. Every day Ave was spending a huge amount of time with interviews and media meetings. A Brazilian company decided to send a video crew to follow the full race season showing the real life behind the handlebar.
Looks like the stage has become a second home for CFR.
2020 was supposed to become the sequel of the previous season but pandemic shuffled the cards and hit hard every one of us. We were in and out of South Africa when we herd the first confused news about corona. Europe was in panic but in our happy island nothing was really different from usual. After two training camp in South Africa and the quick adventure at Tankwa Trek, we were ready to face another Cape Epic. That was supposed to be a special one, marked by the retirement of Manuel Fumic as a professional athlete.
Things changed suddenly and we had to fly home as quick as possible cause Europe was beginning a look down period.
Glory dream had to wait till October, but in the end, they become reality.
After the huge achievement of the World Cup Win in Nove Mesto, things didn’t get easy for Avancini.
In 2021 traveling was still difficult and for few months he couldn’t reach Europe.
His motivation got hit hard and he had to invest a lot to stay at the top of the UCI Ranking.
If I’m right, during a conversation at the beginning of the year, he mentioned he would love to have a World Cup in Brazil and that he was trying to find the right place and the right support to make it happen.
Also in this occasion “the president” made the right moves and with the announcement of the World Cup Calendar 2022 we had the confirmation that another goal was reached.
Never in my life I’ve been so happy to fly abroad to shoot an event like the one at Ave’s home. It was unbelievable to see the amount of the crowd and their love for athletes and sport.
Quite sure that weekend changed the mind of many people!
Well, I guess I took already too much of your time but we almost reached the present.
Not so much to add, maybe that I’m feeling really lucky to have shared a good part of my career with Henrique.
I had the occasion to listen directly form him many motivational speeches and I learnt from him that dreams can become true.