What's Cool In Road Cycling

Giovanni Lombardi: The Slam-Dunc Interview

Giovanni Lombardi. Good sprinter, great worker and a dedicated team man. He was a main element in last year’s Worlds in Zolder running out the sprint for Cipo. Franco Ballerini has asked him for his presence again this year in Hamilton. If he’s that important to the Italian team on whatever type of course the Worlds are held on … I thought he must be worthy of a “Slam-Dunc”! This is what he said.

PCN: Age when first started cycling?
GL: 11

PCN: First race and win?

GL: 1980 in Volghera. Believe it or not – I broke away from the peloton 16 km from the finish and arrived on my own!!

PCN: You have led out the sprint for the world’s top sprinters, which one is the best and why?

GL: Cipollini without doubt. It’s not easy leading out the sprint for him because he demands a high launch speed…but when he goes past me it’s really impressive.

PCN: If Cipollini led out the sprint for you, would you have won as much as him?
GL: No… but if I sprinted against him and managed to get past him I would win… as he usually is at the front for the last 150 meters.!!!

PCN: What gears are you pushing when you lead out the sprint?
GL: 53/11

PCN: When you are leading out Super Mario, does he talk to you or do you let him go when you feel at your max, how does it work?

GL: No…every now and again he speaks 2km from the finish but all the team know their job… my job is to go like the clappers for 600meters… no time for chatting Dunc!

PCN: How do you see your cycling career “after Cipollini”?

GL: Retire in 2005…I think!

PCN: If you could go head to head with any sprinter in History, who would it be?

Cipollini… he is everything… he will be talked about forever.

PCN: Why has nobody ever copied Cipo’s train, and why is your’s so good?

GL: Cipollini believes he is the strongest and so do we. The team is built around him and he likes it as we do it. Other sprinters maybe don’t want or need so much of a train…Cipo does and it seems to work doesn’t it?

PCN: Which sprinter, more than any other, do you see being capable of beating Cipollini constantly?

GL: Pettachi. But I still believe an in form Cipollini is nearly unbeatable.

PCN: What do you like most and least about cycling?
GL: Most the sprints… least the mountains!

PCN: If you were challenged by Duncan and you had a choice of one of the six things below, which would you choose?
– A 1 km sprint but you are on your own (no drafting) and I have Scirea and Cipollini to lead me out,
– downing a pint of beer in the least amount of time,
– Game of Squash ,
– 50mtr swim race but I’ll do legs only and you can choose any stroke,
– 18 holes of Golf,
– A mini triathlon (750mtr swim, 20 km bike, 3km run)

GL: I’ll challenge an Englishman at downing a beer… seems a good challenge!

PCN: How do you pass your spare time?

GL: I spend most at my shoe shop in Madrid…selling great Italian shoes!!

PCN: The funniest man in the Peleton?

GL: Lelli!

PCN: The best compliment you have received?
GL: After the worlds in Zolder…they were sincere words.

PCN: The first word or name that comes into your head when I say;
Milano-San Remo?
GL: Zabel

PCN: Ballerini?
GL: Gentleman

PCN: Armstrong?
GL: The best

PCN: Basketball?
GL: Jordan

PCN: Cycling?
GL: Sacrifice

PCN: Indurian
GL: Mito!!!

PCN: Which young Italian rider do you see ready to emerge this year and have you seen any young Italian rider that will be capable of dominating the sprint as Cipollini has ?

GL: Difficult to say… Bennati has the stuff and talent also Pozzati is good.

PCN: On your first win of the next year do you promise to give me your team jersey, signed, so we can give it away for charity?

GL: Deal done.

— Mille grazie Giovanni, and good luck in Hamilton!

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