James Piccoli had a great end to the season with a stage win at the Tour of Hainan in China, where he also finished third overall, behind Spanish rider Oscar Sevilla. On Stage 3, a 122.7-km race from Baoting to Wuzhishan, he would be victorious over Sevilla and Sebastian Berwick of Israel-Premier Tech. Although he didn’t necessarily target the stage , he knew it was a course that suited him.
“There was no real plan that morning,” he said. “But it was a tricky finish with a long climb and descent to the finish so it was about being strong and smart.”
New team for 2023
Piccoli rode for the China Glory Continental Cycling Team in 2023, which meant lots of racing in Asia. His role during the season was focused more on his teammates.
“Most of the year my job was to help the Chinese riders on the team score UCI points so that they could qualify a rider to the Olympics,” he explained. “At the Tour of Hainan I had a free card so the objective was simply to race for results. Of course I would have liked to win the overall but I think I’m satisfied with the results of the week.”
Racing there was a change to where he had previously been in Europe and North America. “The culture was super interesting and I got to learn (only a little bit) of a new language,” he said.
Hopeful for 2024
Although he doesn’t have a contract for 2024, he’s hoping the victory will help that. He also was happy that he won the race at the end of the season.
“The win and timing of it considering all of what’s happened with Cycling Canada this year was a major highlight,” he said.
Legal action against Cycling Canada
When he speaks of Cycling Canada, he’s referring to a lawsuit against them. According to a report in Le Journal de Québec, Piccoli filed a $15,000 civil lawsuit against the federation for “egregious” violation of a memorandum of understanding between the two parties.
The report goes on to say that the 31-year-old athlete wants to recover legal fees related to an appeal in June 2021 to the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada for a dispute with Cycling Canada. Piccoli claims that he signed an agreement with Cycling Canada before the Tokyo Olympics, even though he wasn’t ultimately selected for the event.
In September, he found himself not selected for the Grands Prix cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal. It was then modified so he was on the list, but as a reserve.
As for the off-season, he will take a break and see what…