By Matt Conn and Ed Hood
PEZ: How did you get into cycling and how old were you?
I started racing when I was eight years old. My grandfather had been pushing me so I entered a race in my local area. I won the race and then it was suggested that I work with a coach from G.S. Pedale Maranese. First race, first victory!
PEZ: You had a strong Under 23 career – what do you rate as your best performance?
My two biggest wins were the Giro del Belvedere, which is a very hard and difficult race and after that, the GP Liberazione in Rome [This is one of the most sought afterone day races on the Italian U23 calendar and is the only ‘amateur’ race of the season that gains prime time live TV coverage in Italy]
Modolo had a strong early season before taking his great 4th place at Sanremo. Here he is on the podium at the Giro di Sardegna.
PEZ: You rode well at Tirreno – how was it lining up against the likes of Boonen?
It’s not something that I really took account of. In the end, I had a different jersey form them and I had my work to do the maximum for my team. But, when I’m in against Petacchi, Boonen and the others it’s normal and logical that I have respect for them. Until the end of last year I was watching them on television.
PEZ: What’s your strongest memory of the Primavera?
In the last kilometre I remember my manager, Roberto Reverberi, was almost in the middle of the road urging me on.
PEZ: How were your nerves at the start?
I was calm. I’m young and taking things easy is normal for me.
PEZ: Was La Primavera your longest ever race?
Sanremo is my longest ever race. I’ve never ridden 300km before.
PEZ: Do you have a coach – did you prepare specially for it?
My trainer is Gianni Faresin. I’ve followed his programs since I was “dilettante” [a junior] and I asked him to keep working with me when I turned professional, which he was happy to do. I didn’t actually do any specific preparation for Sanremo as I really didn’t expect to be going so hard this soon.
PEZ: What was the toughest part of the race?
La Manie. At that point I was at the back because after the Turchino Pass the peloton had split into two. We rode La Manie together and I was able to make my way back to the front of the group.
Modolo lunging for Petacchi’s third place on the far left. He just missed the podium.
PEZ: Did you avoid all the crashes?
Yes, fortunately, I didn’t fall.
PEZ: Do you prefer cold, windy, wet conditions or do you like the sunshine?
I prefer the sun and the warm weather.
PEZ: What was going through your mind at the red kite?
I was thinking about whose wheel I wanted to take. Unfortunately I wasn’t successful getting the wheel I wanted.
PEZ: You were very close to Petacchi – when you look back, anything you would have done differently?
I was content as it was. I guess I could have been a little bit disappointed because I was so close to the podium, but really, my result was fantastic. Maybe even too much!
PEZ: What was the gear in the sprint?
PEZ: Is there any race you would want to win more than La Primavera?
Sanremo is Sanremo, but I also really like the Tour of Flanders.
PEZ: Bennati – if Nibali had helped in the finale, could he have won?
I don’t know about that. It’s not really possible to judge the work of other teams
PEZ: How were your legs, on Sunday?
In the finale, they were really heavy, but I remembered that the others would also be very tired. This gave me a lot of morale in the end.
PEZ: Your next big target?
I don’t know. I don’t have any specific objectives at present. Whatever races I ride, I will be giving the maximum for the team.
PEZ: Can you win in San Remo in 2011?
I hope so. At next year’s race I will still be quite young. I guess we will have to wait and see.
With thanks to Sacha, we’re sure it won’t be the last time we talk to him.