Sunday, January 22, 2012

Interview - Stefano Allocchio (Sport Manager, RCS)

Stefano Alloccio, Sport Manager at RCS
After knowing about the wild cards for the Giro d’Italia this year, Alberto Celani and I reached out to former Italian sprinter Stefano Allocchio who is now Sport Manager at RCS Sport, the organization in charge of the Giro.

I was hoping to hear more about the decisions behind the wild card invitations and if cycling is now more money and marketing than passion and enthusiasm, but unfortunately Stefano Allocchio didn’t want to elaborate on Michele Acquarone’s blog

That means that what could have been the more interesting part on the interview more or less got cancelled, leaving the following as the remaining part of the interview. 

Stefano, leaving the wild card questions and moving on to a sporting view of the Giro d’Italia. What do you expect of the first stages in Denmark? 
I look forward to three important stages in Denmark. I think it could be very similar to the first three stages in Holland two years go. Even the stages characteristics are similar.First a time trial and then two stages which aren’t so easy to interpret. The wind could play an important factor. I expect a lot of people along the roads and real fight for the first Maglia Rosa.

And what do you generally think of this year’s route. Who does it favor?
I think it’s a very beautiful Giro route with good possibilities for any kind of rider. I also think it’s not as easy as many journalist around the world think it is. I see it very similar to the Giro in 2010 won by Ivan Basso. He should be one of the favorite even though it’s early already to speak about this.

Which one of the stages is your own personal favorite? 
Even though I was a sprinter in my own career, I can tell you that without any doubts my favorite Giro stage in 2012 is the one to Stelvio [stage 20, edt.] with Mortirolo and the finish line at 2758 meters above sea level.

Having been a sprinter yourself, what do you think of today’s sprint finishes? Last year we saw less sprints won by a long, strong lead-out train than earlier. Is that's a new trend?
I don’t think it’s a real “trend”. On the contrary, I think every mass sprint is different from the others and also, a good sprinter has to be able to win by himself without help from anybody.

Last year got shadowed by the horrific crash and death of Wouter Weylandt. What has RCS done to improve the safety on the roads in 2012? Are you talking with riders on how to make it better? Like we have seen in Motorsport? 
What happened to Wouter Weylandt has been a tragic fatality and it has nothing to do with race safety measures. RCS Sport has always been at the top on riders safety on its races. Of course we will continue on this path in 2012 and in the coming years to be on top of the athletes safety.

Last question and another topic. Cyclocross and Track Cycling are losing appeal in Italy. Do you think RCS can play a role in the renewal of these disciplines in a country rich in tradition like Italy? Do you think it would be possible with a Cyclocross event at Parco Sempione or a track event at Vigorelli to save this monument of cycling?
I perfectly understand what you are talking about, since I has been a track rider too, but I have to admit that time wait for nobody and maybe these disciplines are in the past of a rich tradition country as Italy too. I don’t think it will be possible to renewal these disciplines. Unfortunately.

On a side not Stefano Allocchio also put an end to the rumors that the epic finale on Montelupone will return in this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico. Something that Purito, among others, had hoped it would. “It will return in the future though”, Allocchio assures.