Q&A with Patrizio
For years, you have been a sprint race specialist. Why did you accept Davide’s proposal to join the team and race marathons?
I’ve always liked to get out of my comfort zone and try something new; in those years, the best athletes in the world we attending the WIC. I knew Davide as an athlete and appreciated him as a person, so when he offered to participate in the WIC, I saw it as a great opportunity not to be missed.
You were the first member of the Mariani team to become a World Champion. Can you tell us what it was like that day in Korea?
I could write a book about that day, and in general about the entire 2006 season; it was the year of falls and restarts. That world championship was not going well for me, and the sensations I had the first days were not good, but the day of the 500m road race, everything changed.
Since the qualifying phases in the morning, I felt excellent; my legs were great, I qualified through the rounds almost effortlessly. The hours leading up to the final were long and very stressful; I thought about all the possible strategies to implement and distracted myself by chatting with teammates, physiotherapists, and team doctors. I still remember the care with which I prepared the skates before the final, the attention I’ve put In lacing up my shoes, and the focus; I have never been able to concentrate so much again.
The race went the same way as it had all season; I got off to a bad start but managed to find the right opportunity to turn it all around in my favor. Being the first to win the title as an athlete of the Mariani team makes me a little proud. Still, the best memory of that day is the happy expressions and sincere compliments received from all my teammates, Davide, and many other friends.
Between your first and last medal at Worlds, it’s been over 10 years. We know how hard it is to stay at that level. What is the secret to staying motivated and competitive for so many years?
My first medal at the World Championships was in 1999, the last one in 2012. In all those years, my physique and my head have had to change, adapting to new situations, new distances, bigger wheels, and in general, more evolved technical means.
The only reason that allowed me to be competitive for so many years was the desire to improve myself year after year. Every day I trained with the sole objective of perfecting my technique and improving my physique; I enjoyed and had fun doing it. I was also very fortunate to always find the right teammates who made even the hardest workouts fun, and I will always be grateful to them.
Your relationship with Davide goes far beyond the usual Athlete-Sponsor relationship. Can you explain why you have remained so close, more than 15 years after the beginning of your collaboration?
When I get along well with someone, I always tend to create a relationship beyond simple professional collaboration. I got on well with Davide right from the start. His attention to detail and continuous research to improve his products, together with his human qualities in some difficult moments of the seasons we spent together, was essential. He never failed to help me, and this is why we have such a strong bond.
We have lived unique sporting experiences; we have thought, reasoned, created, suffered, and rejoiced together, which creates a bond that remains etched in our memory for a long time.