Battling it out at the Fleche in Belgium.
BACK IN THE USSR
Randall: You grew up in Lithuania. Your father was deported to Siberia. This must have been a difficult experience for you. How has this affected your sporting life? Did it make you more determined, more courageous perhaps?
Edita: My father when he was a child and teenager, had a difficult time in Siberia and was suffering after he and his family were deported after the Second World War from Lithuania. I and my two sisters, we know about this period of father’s life only from his flashbacks.
When I have a difficult time and I have to withstand, sustain and go though with my sport career, I think about my fathers experience and it inspires me with confidence. When my father was young he was qualified as a good weightlifter, but he had no possibilities to become a well-known sportsman. Now he and my whole family are my biggest fans.
Edita and her Team Nobili Rubinetterie-Guerciotti team mates toast in the New Year. Our invite probably got lost in the mail…
Randall: Lithuania has many top girls racing on the CDM circuit. What is bike racing like in Lithuania – why are there so many good riders from your country?
Edita: Our Lithuanian cyclist generation grew up during the soviet occupation period where the roots of democracy were frozen. One of the very few possibilities to get to know the world at that time, to break forth from the soviet reservoir and realise oneself was the achievement at the top level of sport.
I think that the circumstances forced us to become more resolute and plucky than the new generation. I hope very much that I am mistaken and that the future will prove me wrong.
“Slow down! Slow Down! The race is over – you won you won!” A victory in the Giro del Toscana – in front of a very excited race official.
THE EASTERN GIRLS REALLY KNOCK ME OUT
Randall: A lot of the girls from Eastern Europe wind up riding for Italian squadra’s – you, Rasa, Jolanta, Zoulfia, Modesta, Valentina – why is that? What is the reason for joining Italian teams?
Edita: Italy is one of the countries where in 1996 the international teams bunched together. Until then the sportswomen represented their own national teams in international competition. Italian women’s cycling has its own history, its own traditions and is quite professionally organised. In the country, there are about 10-15 sport clubs, which are comprised of Italian and foreign sportswomen. The large majority of sportsmen coming from the Eastern countries (also from Australia, Switzerland, Germany and England) sign contracts in Italy.
The great Italian nature, climatic conditions, and Italian kitchen attract not only an intense flood of tourists but also a large number of professional cyclists (both sportsmen and sportswomen). The famous Lance Armstrong also spent a considerable period of his professional life in Italy. Meanwhile, the other European countries (Spain, Holland, France, Germany) focus on their own national sport prospects and not on foreigners.
From racer to interviewer – Edita asks Bettini the tough questions.
CICLISTA – JOURNALISTA
Randall: In addition to your cycling career, you are working part time as a journalist in Italy. You report on bici sport. How has working as a journalist affected your perspective on the sport and as a rider, how has it changed your perspective on journalists?
Edita: In the monthly journal “Ciclismo” I bestir myself to be as objective as possible. I endeavour to unveil the stories of professional women cyclists in Italy and worldwide. The journalism consumes some of my free time but it does not interfere with my sport career.
I find, in Italy there is not enough publicity about professional women’s cycling, and therefore this subject has huge untapped potential to explore. I know the various ups and downs and ins and outs of the cycling “kitchen” extremely well, and for this reason I want to contribute to the upgrading and improving of women’s professional cycling. To achieve it is one of my dreams.
A familiar pose – the victory salute at the Giro D’Italia 3rd stage.
Randall: You are married now. Does being married reduce your motivation to be a competitive athlete at the top level?
Edita: On the contrary! My husband encourages me, stands by me and helps in my sport career. In addition to being a civil servant, he in also works in his free time as a masseur- physiotherapist in my sport club, so we have the possibility to travel to competitions together. He, being constantly close to me, helps me and gives me energy.
We are nearly one person; we are happy about my victories, we are sad about flops. Sometimes Roberto is even more exhausted after competitions then I am. I have achieved my greatest professional results after I got to know him, so I think that the closeness and understanding helps to manage stress and physical over-fatigue. Currently sport is a very big part of our life, but this will not last forever and we are planning our future after I retire from cycling.
Randall: You have some very nice photos on your website – feminine and sexy. How do you balance sex appeal and your sporting life – is it a difficult challenge or do you see them as complimentary?
Edita: The professional sport activity consumes lots of time. Especially during the season I have very limited time left for myself and the people nearest me. That’s why I used to go to Lithuania during the winter to visit my parents, and to ski and to travel with my husband. I have huge internal impulses to change my appearance: the colour of my hair, my clothes and style.
The Pussycat gets ready to prowl at the 2003 Worlds in Hamilton.
Randall: Style is paramount in Italy. How do Italian men perceive women cyclists – or do you even care?
Edita: Yes, it is. Sporting life is compatible with one’s private life. Thus one can unfold the attitudes, the way of thinking and the appearance. Especially when you know that somebody does care…
YOU SAY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY
Randall: Edita, you have already accomplished everything in cycling and have shown yourself to be a great competitor. When you retire from cycling do you think you will have quenched your thirst for victory or will you continue to be goal oriented?
Edita: After I retire from cycling I do not think that I will change much. Speed, endless competition, delight in accomplishment and achieving great things helps me stay very energetic. I have some ambitious dreams and plans for the future after I finish my cycling career.
It is a desire to realise myself in the family, to acquire enough skills for journalism, maybe to engage myself in organising competitions or to become a speaker, maybe to open a physiotherapy and rehabilitation sport centre or fitness club. There are many dreams to for me to make true.
Randall: Edita, thanks so much for talking with us on Pez and for giving your fans a peek into your world. You just had a birthday – happy birthday Edita and Merry Christmas from all of us!!!
Edita: Thank you for your kind words. My best wishes for all Pez fans! Merry Christmas and happy New Year!
Per le News vedi su: EditaPucinskaite.com
Read Part 1 of our Interview: Edita Pucinskaite – In Her Own Words
For more great photos and stories of Women’s Racing, check out LadiesCycling.net