PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : Interview with CEO Stefano Feltrin

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Interview with CEO Stefano Feltrin
Tinkoff-Saxo CEO Stefano Feltrin is an expert in business and law – as well as being an avid cyclist, and has been Oleg’s business partner since he became team owner. Here is his perspective on building and managing the team, and the forthcoming season and beyond.

On how the team is managed and structured…

“The team management has a dual focus: I am responsible for all the commercial matters and for the administration of the team while Bjarne Riis is in charge of all the sport and performance side of the team.”

On Bjarne Riis’s role…

“Bjarne is now able to focus 100% on coaching the riders and help them to perform at their best, having much more time to dedicate to them rather than to the economics behind the company.”

On the change since Oleg’s purchase of the team…

“There is more financial stability and a long term program with a vision to bring in the best professionals in each key positions – and by allowing the great people we already have in our team to focus on what they can do best. We will also bring more science into the training and more data analysis in the decision making process to bank on all the small marginal gains we can obtain with always better equipment, training methods, nutrition, etc.”

On the direction of the team…

“We are not changing things radically; the team had a very strong foundation and solid basis so we are building on them to develop an already good platform.”

On changes to training…

“We are working to improve it but the fundamentals are there already.”

On the importance of science…

“A scientific approach is of essence to understand what works and what doesn’t. In the last few years the gaps between winning a grand tour or not reaching the podium is calculated in seconds, not minutes anymore. Thus we need to optimise all aspect of a cycling race.”

On how to stay ahead of other teams…

“[We will do this] with hard work and dedication with a goal to constantly improve in all areas.”

On becoming the best team in the world…

“It is our clear goal. We know it needs time but that’s where we want to be.”

On rival teams…

“We respect all the teams in the peloton and I am keen on judging what others do without knowing where they come from. I have managed pro-continental teams in the past and I know how difficult it is to manage a low budget venture.”

On when the team will win a Grand Tour…

“Hopefully it will be as soon as this May in the Giro or July in the Tour de France. We are very happy with the team we have: it is super strong and motivated.”

On the plans for 2015…

“Same as this year: become the best team – and if we have already become the best, just stay there as the best – which doesn’t mean that we can sit still without keeping on improving.”

On the importance of being international…

“We believe that having an international approach allows us to get the best of every approach and lifestyle. Our staff is from several different nationalities and we take pride in bringing everybody together with the same team spirit.”

On his favourite races…

“The Giro d’Italia, because Italy is beautiful and the racing is always very spectacular.”

On the differences between cycling and Formula 1…

“I was lucky enough to have had professional experience in several sports from yachting to Formula 1 and ice hockey. The challenges may differ in the details but when you are dealing with world class athletes and competitions, high end hospitality programs and logistic there are many similarities.”

On the most important lesson learned from yachting…

“To believe in hard work and preparation, to respect others and the elements.”



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