It seems the language barrier, now combined with the written format (versus an actual conversation), and the addition of a translator seem to have taken the “edge” off our usual line of questioning, but still, we made the connection and got a bit more insight into the heir to Cipollini’s thrown…
Your Career So Far
1. What part of Italy are you from? Do you still live close to your family?
AP: From Liguria. I live alone and my family is at 15 Km.
2. How did you get started in bike racing, and what made you decide to pursue it as a career?
AP: I used to watch the races on TV with my father and then when I started, I immediately began to win.
3. After you beat Cipollini for the first time, did you find it easier to beat him after that? Did you find your confidence increased to a level that has made winning “easier”?
AP: I had already beat him the year before so I knew I could make it. I am more confident… but it is always difficult to win.
4. You have been compared to Mario Cipollini for obvious reasons – your sprinting! You also were compared to him after you left the Tour this summer before the mountains. How important is it for a rider’s development, credibility and respect amongst the peloton, the media, and the fans to complete the Tour de France?
AP: It is the biggest race of the world and a win there makes you big all over the world.
5. How was your visit to the United States for Interbike? What other parts of the country did you see and how did you enjoy it? What stands out as the most significant difference between America and Italy?
AP: It has been a fast trip and I hadn’t time to see a lot… I liked Las Vegas and the Grand Canion. America is very different fron here. Las Vegas is a little megalomaniac… based on money, luxury and play.
6. Now that you are a sports superstar are you more popular with the ladies?
AP: I don’t know. I hope to be popular with my fans.
7. Can you describe the training that you do to develop your terrific end of race speed (or is it just a natural gift?).
AP: It is a secret!
8. What things did you learn from watching other racers that helped you become a better sprinter?
AP: I tried to take from every rider something to improve my sprint.
9. Who is the most unsafe sprinter in the bunch?
AP: They are all on the same level.
About Tom Danielson
10. Have you had a chance to get to know Tom Danielson yet?
AP: I saw him today (for the 2004 foto) but I don’t know him well.
– How is he fitting in to Italian life?
AP: I don’t know but usually the foreign people have no difficulty to live in Italy.
– Does he know more Italian, or do you know more English?
AP: Now it is difficult to understand each other but I think in a little he will perfectly speak italian, better than me with english!
(Ed. Note: – We talked at length with Tom in early November, and will be posting the interview in the next few days.)
11. You have emerged as a sprinting tour de force. What are your thoughts and plans for the Giro and the 2004 season?
AP: My targets are Milano Sanremo and the Giro but I don’t have precise ideas yet. We’ll se…
12. What do you think about the Tour de France route for 2004. Is it better for you than 2003? Is it your ambition to finish the Tour and win the green jersey next year?
AP: I didn’t see the race and I don’t know if I’ll do it. If I will do it I hope to win a stage and then we’ll see about the green jersey…
13. Now that you’re a professional, and achieving more success each year, is racing still “fun” the same way it was when you started? – what do you enjoy most about being a racer?
AP: It’s not only ‘fun’, it’s also a work and it’s always difficult… But I’m each year more enthusiastic because of the higher responsibilities.
14. What or who is the most important thing in your life, and why?
AP: My family and my girlfriend (remember the lovely Anna-Chiara? – ed.).
Read our Interview At Interbike here.
Get more info on the Fassa Bortolo teamat their website www.fassabortolo.com/it/gs/