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A triathlete
for Pirelli

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At the beginning of March he returned to compete in the World Series after a year of absence. And he did it by mounting a pair of Pirelli tyres on his bicycle. Alessandro Fabian, a Paduan triathlete born in 1988 with 12 Italian titles, 3 European titles and a 10th place at the Olympics, has chosen our company to start the second phase of his career, after a gruelling physical and mental four-year period aiming for Tokyo 2020 without setting limits or expectations. A change of perspective and strategy driven on a pair of PZero.

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PZeroVeloAs 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.

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How do you train as a top triathlete? How do you divide the programs between the three disciplines you are competing in? 
It depends on the period of the season: far from the races we do more quantities, close to the races, more quality and rhythm. The typical week includes two to four workouts a day. The total number of hours per week is around 30 hours. There are more or less 15 hours of cycling, 6 and a half hours of swimming and 8 hours of running. 

What is your relationship with the bicycle? Do you also use it outside the competitive context? 
I really like using it outside the competitive context. I do it differently, I become a turtle, I go much more slowly. I like the bike because it allows you to explore, whether it is training or not, it is a means that allows you to feel good and see what's around at a speed that is not that of the car. With a bike, if you are on a cycle path you can also enjoy the scenery.

Your relationship with Pirelli is not just about sponsorship but also about product development. Can you explain how we will work together and how the development program is set up? What are the testing methods? 
The triathlon lets you test the materials and I have always followed this path with the various companies that sponsor me. Product development is continuous, behind it is the research increase performance. In training I will use the tyres to test them at high speed, stress them over a long period and in the more specific training, close to the race, we will put a lot of stress on the tyres, keeping up rhythms on very fast and technical circuits. In these contexts the tyre becomes very important because in the technical fields if you do not have one that guarantees excellent performance. You risk losing precious seconds and working harder. 

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Do you notice differences with development programs that you have carried out in the past?
It's the first time I work with a company that makes tyres and I'm glad it's Pirelli. It is a new adventure that I think will give both me and them a lot of experience.

So the development has already started. How did the first tyre tests in the race and the tyres in training go?
I must say that the two things have pleasantly surprised me. In the tests I stressed the tyre, first in training with the PZero Velo 4S, the tyres they gave me to test and that I put to the test. It has a soft mix and between January and February at the Canary Islands the pavement is very aggressive, but despite this they let me to feel at ease in training and in the most technical preparation for the race. The World Cup test, then, was excellent, I tested the quality of the tyre material. We were on a Formula 1 track, on a wet track, and it was interesting to see how I my performance on the curves was better than other opponents.

Who do you work with in Pirelli and what is the type of relationship with them?
I deal especially with Samuele Bressan, product manager, and Filippo Galli, technical product development manager, because they are the ones who give me information on the products they supply me and help me choose the most suitable for the different conditions in which I train and compete. Then I provide them with feedback on how I felt, what happened and how it went .

What results do you expect in the upcoming months?
I expect consistency. My goal was to return to a high level with good frequency, but at this moment I don't have expectations for myself meaning that I'm taking a different approach compared to previous years. I do not know what I can expect nor do I want to set expectations because I’ve learned that when you proceed step by step and have the right awareness, the result comes by itself. I think this is the thing that I will take with me into the next period: Improving is the reason why I changed my approach and training philosophy.

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