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"I'm, obviously, very happy to be with this team for another year. I was already thinking about continuing and after the Giro d'Italia I saw I was still at a very good level and I could be useful to the team in 2016."

Photo: Tinkoff - Saxo


01.10.2015 @ 11:19 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The statesman of the professional peloton will continue providing his invaluable services to Tinkoff-Saxo for another year, his sixth with the team. His experience and determination will be an asset in the squads that will help Alberto Contador and brand new World Champion, Peter Sagan, in 2016.


Tinkoff-Saxo has announced Matteo Tosatto's renewal for 2016 and looks forward to having him by the side of the captains in next season's races. His experience, determination and focus are the key factors that make him an important member of a Grand Tour squad and helper of big-name riders.


Tosatto will now embark on the final races of the season in Italy and Abu Dhabi. Ahead of the races and the 2016 season, Tosatto elaborates on his renewal with the team, his goals, his nearly 20 years as a professional rider and what keeps him motivated to fight at the top of professional cycling:


How do you feel renewing with Tinkoff-Saxo?
"I'm, obviously, very happy to be with this team for another year. I was already thinking about continuing and after the Giro d'Italia I saw I was still at a very good level and I could be useful to the team in 2016. I had a number of offers from other teams but staying with Tinkoff-Saxo was my priority. I wanted to continue being part of the group of one of the world's best riders, Alberto Contador, and with Peter Sagan now crowned World Champion, I am convinced I made the right choice."



What motivates you after nearly 20 years as a top-level professional rider?
"At this stage, motivation is mental. It's my head that drives me and the goals and objectives I have. It's extremely important to have clear goals in order to stay motivated. If you don't have this mental drive it will be very difficult to have the physical stamina to keep on riding. My goals might change every year but they keep me concentrated and willing to train, to live an athlete's life and go to races in top form."

"I could even say that in some occasions, in 2015 I felt better than 2014, especially at the Giro. I raced in top form and never felt worn out, even after the toughest stages. I raced in the Classics, the Giro and the Tour in very good shape, always pushing myself to stay motivated. One year more or one year less doesn't make much of a difference physically, it's your head that dictates your state."


Since goals are so important, which are your main ones for 2016?
"One of the team's main goals is for Alberto to be at the Tour de France in peak form, with a very strong squad around him. As a result, my main goal is to be at 100% of my form, physically and mentally, at the Tour in order to give my best for Alberto, the way I did this year at the Giro and Tour. If the team, prior to that, calls me to help Peter in the Classics, then I will be there to support the new World Champion, again in the best shape I can be."



How much different is training at 41 to training at a younger age?
"It's considerably different. You have to train more to achieve the same result. When you are younger, you are explosive, physically you are much fresher and you can recover faster. As you get older, you have to be more careful with your nutrition, your daily schedule, your sleeping hours, in general you have to live the life of a top athlete and abide to stricter rules. However, that doesn't bother me and I know that this is also due to the evolution of the sport in recent years."


How much has cycling evolved since 1997?
"There has been a huge change in professional cycling in the last 20 years. It requires much more sacrifices now and no matter what race you take part in, the peloton has a very high level of preparation. There has been a tremendous evolution as well in the technical aspects and there is an unprecedented attention even to the smallest details in materials, clothing down to sunglasses and helmets.


"Twenty years ago going to a wind tunnel was unheard of, while now one of the first things you do early in the season is to find your optimal aero position on the bike by carrying out wind tunnel tests. The way we race as well has changed. In the past, riders had more freedom while now we follow a much stricter tactical plan and we are in constant contact with the sport directors, at least in the major races."


Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
"In hindsight, I don't think I would change anything because I started young, I had my chances to win, I won a stage at the Tour and the Giro, I pulled on the pink jersey and had my satisfactions. I then found my personal dimension in this sport, which was to be a key helper to team captains. That helped me as well and gave me the opportunity to be in big teams, supporting big-name riders. I don't consider this to be a minor achievement and the fact that there are various teams that would like to have me in 2016, at 42 years of age, in their squad is an important recognition of my value.


"The Tour stage I won in 2006 is the victory I'm most fond of because the Tour is the most beautiful and important race in this sport. I haven't had the opportunity to take part in the Olympics and represent Italy and it is something I would have liked to do. However, I have no regrets with what I have achieved in my career and I am now fully focused on the remaining races in Italy and Abu Dhabi and on helping my captains next year."



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