“Behind the exploits of the Italian movement, not only the talents, but also the work done by former azzurri coach Dino Salvoldi”

Alessandra Cappellotto, president of the female CPA at the start of a stage of the Giro Donne

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Alessandra Cappellotto she has always been a leader. He was a cyclist in the 90s when he gave theItaly the first world title in 1997 a San Sebastián and remains now in his role as president of the Cpa female, the international cycling union, which she founded in 2017. Al Women’s Tour alla vicentina de Sarcedo, 53 years old, nothing escapes. He anticipates the race by informing the chat with the sports directors if there are dangerous situations, he is in contact with the athletes willing to solve all the problems, but always with a low profile: sometimes just a look is enough to understand what a girl is like. doing. And this Giro Donne could not have started better, with world champion Elisa Balsamo in the pink jersey after the first three stages.

So the day the pink caravan moves Sardinia a Cesenawe analyze with Alessandra the growth of the Italian women’s movement, which certainly did not surprise her. “We were lucky … explains Cappellotto – have coaches and I mean especially the former coach of the team, Dino Salvoldi who made the difference. With the work that Dino has done, we will live on about ten years of income.

But some good talent has also arrived.

“Of course, we are lucky to have strong girls, who have power in their legs as they say in slang, but you have to train well and the work that has been done in the last few years has been very important. To this must be added a champion like Elisa Longo Borghini which drove the movement and therefore many have tried to emulate it. Then came this beautiful rainbow t-shirt which, in a period in which the WorldTour system is consolidated, means being a world leader ”.

We are now able to take on the challenge with the Dutch …

“Finally, they have been causing us problems for years. And beware, the successes of the classics came from girls we knew well. Certainly, Cavalli is not a discovery this spring: he has come from good years and winning Amstel and Freccia has obtained beautiful but not unexpected results. The same goes for many other good girls: just look at the Mediterranean Games, not to mention the track that is another flagship of Italy.

In your opinion, is Italian women’s cycling at its best?

“I hope it’s just the beginning and that this positive period can
continue for a few years “.

Two weeks after the end of the Giro Donne, the Tour returns
organized by aso …

“The first tour I did in 1988 (jeannie Longo won in front of our Maria Canins, ed), was organized by Aso. The last part of the men’s stage was run, they were pretty short fractions, 50-70 at most you could get to 100 miles, but it was nice because there were a lot of people on the roads. We had asked Aso to re-propose this combination, but times have changed: blocking the road for two races was impossible. But it was a great option for the women to leave on the day of the end of the Men’s Tour, a splendid change.

On the return of the Tour there is also your hand …

“Four years ago I went to Paris with Laura Mora, the general secretary of the CPA, to ask for more attention to women’s cycling. Two years ago the Aso called us asking to collaborate with them: they wanted news, suggestions, proposals. In full swing, we started a series of monthly meetings at Zoom until the announcement was made. “

Of course, the € 250,000 prize is something never seen before
in women’s cycling.

“To tell you the truth, athletes are only interested in second-place awards and they said so at one of the first meetings a couple of years ago while talking to Prudhomme about the awards. The girls immediately said, we are interested in visibility. The real change comes from the live television broadcast, and that’s where the money comes from.

How to blame them …

“The girls who run now are good, smart, educated. When I see the CPA Athlete Steering Committee photo, it makes me want to bow. Starting with the South African Ashleigh Moolmam Pasio, a true leader. Spain has Mavi Garcia, who is also very involved. For Italy there is Sofia Bertizzolo a young girl but with an incredible personality: when we do executive committees or meetings with the president of the UCI, Lappartient, she asks precise and frank questions and also wants answers. Really good”.

Alessandra, in addition to being the president of the cyclists’ union, you have also founded another association: Camí per la igualtat.

“Yes, because the CPA Women helps the elite of professionalism, but I realized that something was missing in developing countries. During my travels I had known very beautiful realities: the selection of Nigeria, the girls of Rwanda, there are interesting young people in Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco and then I came in contact with the girls of Afghanistan. In short, a specific association was needed for these girls, and this is where Road to Equality was born, which allowed me to help Afghan cyclists when they needed to save their lives. ”

A commitment that has led you to win the Amnesty International’s “Sport and Human Rights” award.

“That recognition was a surprise that left me confused and incredulous. When I received it it was one of the most beautiful emotions
of life, almost as if he had won the world championship … ».

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