Can you take stock of the season so far? Are the results obtained so far as expected?
“So far we have had a very intense season, especially with the juniors. We have already done four of the five races in the Junior Cup, the fifth will be tomorrow and we are preparing with a group of 12 athletes, six men and six women. We are happy with the results, we have very interesting boys and girls like Marco Betteo and Valentina Corvi, who are the athletes who have stood out the most. The under-23s did very well, especially with Simone Avondetto and Filippo Fontana who finished second and third in the last round of the World Cup. We are also very confident for the European Championships to be held next week in Portugal. We can also say ours with Giada Specia and Valentina Cortinovis ”.
Given the good results we have had in the youth categories, why is it harder for the Elite to train athletes than to play with the best in the world?
“It’s true, we are struggling a bit, except maybe the last stage of the World Cup where Luca Braidot returned to the top 10 and Gerhard Kershbaumer has also approached. Hopefully from now on the condition will come, they are also working well and the season has been very demanding. We are now in the middle of the season, we hope to arrive in the best conditions for the European and World Championships. From now on we must not be wrong ”.
Gerhard Kerschbaumer, excellent results in the youth categories, then never managed to reconfirm three of the Elite, except for the world silver in 2018. What were the reasons in your opinion?
“Gerhard has a very interesting record, he won a lot when he was young, then he was only defeated by Nino Schurter in 2018 and now he is fighting a lot. He changed teams, going from Torpado-Gabogas to Specialized Factory Racing, two completely different teams, with different needs, even on a “social” level. Gerhard never liked these things, we jokingly called him a “conformist.” He has to do what he pleases and it seems he can’t find the serenity he wants. As the level goes up so do the needs of the media, the commitments outside the bike and also there we see who can handle these situations and who accuses them. And he is the one who accuses them. The level has risen a lot in recent years and at the moment Gerhard has not been able to keep up. But you know, the head of an athlete can change from one year to the next, perhaps finding reasons to make big leaps forward.
What is your vision of multidisciplinarity? Why do we have fewer cyclists in Italy, compared to other European countries, who are able to translate their talent even on the street, benefiting from the two different disciplines?
“In my opinion it’s not so much an Italian discourse, it’s that from time to time in some countries that phenomenon comes out, like Pidcock, Van der Poel or Van Aert that in any bike they ride, they manage to make a difference. They are two completely different sports, even I have passed them, leaving the road at 33 and indulging in mountain biking. Mountain biking is an extremely difficult sport, and it is very easy to fall and get hurt, for those who also indulge on the road they risk compromising the season. Here you win the downhill races, and you need a lot of technique, not just the leg. In addition, the two seasons are so busy for both disciplines at all levels that it forces you to make decisions.
More generally, what is the current situation, also at the level of members, of the Mountain Bike movement in Italy?
“At the level of subscribers and participants in the races we are constantly increasing, every year they are more and more. It is becoming the main discipline at the youth level, boys are starting to run in the middle of nature, away from traffic and roads. Parents also push kids more to try mountain biking. In addition to this there is also a natural change, when I was young the BTT practically did not exist, now the children as soon as they start to climb a BTT. Then the athlete grows and evolves and maybe even tries the way, as happened for example to Davide Donati and Nicolas Milesi. Both were born with the BTT, but little by little they are being projected on the road, as we saw in the Time Trial of the Junior National Championship, where they were second and third ”.