As Pirelli, we decided to work with you to represent the excellence of triathlon in Italy. It is true that sponsors choose athletes, but the opposite is also true. What does it mean for you to work with Italian excellence and a leading company in the field of tyres and what are the reasons why you decided to choose Pirelli?
I am sincerely happy with this agreement. I have always looked at Pirelli with admiration and then I am an Inter fan and it is nice to have the same sponsor as my team. Beyond this, it has always been important for me to work with Made in Italy. I am an athlete on the National team, I represent a country that has different excellences. Bringing Made in Italy around the world is a different business card and enhances what I represent, which is my country, even more.
In 2017 you competed less than usual, limiting yourself to a few races. This year you restarted in Abu Dhabi. What were your feelings in the race?
Last year I competed less because the four years that had brought me to Rio 2016 had taken a lot of energy out of me. I wanted to bring changes to my approach and I had to start from the basics, from the coach to the training system. I wanted to start soft this year but then I thought: "Why?". I was fine, I train with the world champion and all the strongest cyclists, I'm ready. So I immediately entered the top circuit and it was really good. The feelings were good, somewhat because I found what I've always done and somewhat because I saw that the approach changed. This pleased me, made me experience the race differently. It is the result of the work I put into play from 2016 to today.
Three European medals, 12 Italian titles, a tenth place at the Olympics. At 30, can we make an initial assessment of your career?
I could do it but I do not want to, I do not want to dwell on the past, it takes too much effort. Until last year I thought I had to do it, I came from two Olympic cycles and my desire had waned, the last four years I took it very hard, especially from the mental point of view. Instead, since last year I would say the opposite, I have not yet crossed the finish line of my career, I'm not there yet, the past is past, of present and future I still have. It depends only on what stimuli I put into play and what I still want to get out of myself.
What dreams are still to come true?
The goal in Rio was to improve my tenth place finish in London. It may still be this, but I no longer set a simple result or a single performance as a goal. The result is the most objective part of an athlete, it's true, and I want to improve myself, but above all to improve myself and the approach I work with day by day. My coach always says that you have to enjoy the process, you learn it with age that the result is not so important, even if it can change your life and gives you the right drive to go on, but what matters is the journey that separates you from the time when you race. If you do not learn to enjoy the present you will hardly rejoice on the day of the race. This is the most important challenge, the result is a consequence.