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Francesco Zangarini

Yes, he’s a great athlete, but he’s also a great guy too, nobody can deny it. He should learn something from his older brother (European champion, one of the first pros, and a very respected latin-lover). He should be a little less lazy… But in the end everybody reckons this young champion is really good when it comes to skating. In 2004 he got the world title that was eluding him for quite some time, last year he couldn’t defend his title because of politics, but that certainly will not disturb his sleep. Well, to be honest, nothing will!

Revolutionary globular helmet

Please, tell our readers how is a professional skater’s daily routine…
A professional skater wakes up before 8:00 am, dietetic but bombastic breakfast, then gym or swimming pool. Afterwards comes a hefty lunch, then an hour nap. Follows a quick snack then a couple of hours skating. After a long day, dinner, TV or internet, and finally a deserved rest: to bed before 11:00 pm.
Right. Now tell us how is YOUR daily routine, since you’re know to be an indolent potato couch.
I wake up around 11, take out my big dog for a shit (a splendid golden retriever, yeah), then I go to the bar for the morning “aperitive”. If I feel like it I go to the gym for a while, otherwise it will be a nice lunch at my “mamma’s”. Regular nap, then visit to the bar for a coffee or two, before going shopping or having a massage (but not the “usual” ones… :-?). In the evening I’ll go to do the skating training, have dinner and then I’ll have 2 alternatives: party with my friends until late, or romantic evening with a lady. Finally it’s bedtime, preferably not alone.

Yes, usually with a friend called “Onan”, we’re told. But hey, how do you cope with such an intense pressure in a sport so hard?
To tell you the truth, it’s not easy. Mid-season comes, and you are looking forward to have a free week-end and chill a bit. Just imagine how we end up by October!
But to me it’s less stressful to do a series of marathons like this rather than a bunch of races in a track. Back to the question: I try to rest as much as I can, so I can be ready every week.

Aaarrrghhhh! Watch out my 3 leg!

Ha ha! I'm lost...  Admitted to the rookies class at last!  

Well, it seems you live your whole life resting! And when you’re on holidays, what do you do?
I try to have as much fun as I can. I would go to a worm resort to get a nice tan, or skiing in the mountains, loosing control in discos, always meeting new people… I would not stand still, for sure. Holidays are great, man, and I intend to enjoy them to the fullest, knowing what I will be sacrificing during the season.
Favourite music/singer?
I’m eclectic: from house music to pop, hip hop, r&b and latin rithms... Obviously, also italian music (Eros is my favourite).
Oh, yes, we like Mr. Favot too. Last year, even wining an Italian title, you were left out of the Chinese restaurant. Was it painful or you don’t give a rat’s arse?
I do care, I can’t pretend I don’t. To wear the Italian uniform is a strong emotion, and I’ve got a lot of gratifications in the past thanks to the National team. But it was so disappointing to witness our Federation not protecting us at all (the top 5 italian skaters)... They say it was a calendar problem, but we will see this year: if I had the same problem (choosing between WIC and national team), I’ll be forced to follow my path and forget about racing for my country. It’s awful to say something like that, but it’s a fact. It will be bad for all if that happens again.
In the ’05 season you’ve worked like a slave, but the year before we saw you many more times on the podium. Why is that?
Last season I had a less competitive team, so I was forced to risk more. But that situation led me to undergo a maturation that perhaps I wouldn’t have attained if I remained were I was. I think last season made me a much better athlete, and it improved my marathon skills. Results were not as good as in 2004, especially the first half of the year, perhaps due to the not so good initial preparation and the time it took to tune up the team. I got better on the second half, but I lost some races anyway. It serves me as a lesson for the future. No matter.

Please, no free publicity here. The female races are very often real carnages, in which the girls almost kill each other. In the men races instead, it seems an unspoken non aggression treaty is in place, with almost no fouls, virtually 100% fair-play. It’s just my impression?
Let’s say that among all the top skaters there is a certain level of mutual respect and esteem, and I also noticed that –fortunately- there is loyalty. Females, my friend, are treacherous… a different species. That’s why I love them!

What the f@*k was in the sangria? This place is wrong! Or is it me?

Later we will get back to the issue, but first give us some advice to race a marathon in rainy conditions (in Seoul and Rennes you were a missile!)
I guess you’re asking the wrong guy! I hate to race under the rain: sometimes it goes well, other times definitely not. But after all the wet races we did last year, I must say that I improved in that sense too. If I had to give a piece of advice, I would say: watch out for the crossing stripes! Those are real bastards when wet.
Great. Even infants know that. Listen: Bill Begg seems a crazy guy: how is he as a coach?
Aw, man...give me a break. I had him on my neck for a whole year, leave me alone, now. No comment!
Ok, answer only this one: what was Bill’s sexual abstinence policy before races?
Er… we never discussed that. But even if we did, do you really think I would listen to him?
Ha! I know exactly when I can have it!
We know too: whenever they give it to you! Ok, tell me something about the BONT team. A word or phrase that better describes each one of your 2005 teammates:

Luca: superman

Wouter: lover

Christoph: high tower

Mark: too many to say... (you may ask his best friend, Max Presti!)

Alex: random man

Bill: the master!

I hope the yellow puddle does not show...

Ok, I was going to ask you about your NEW teammates, but they are not really new, are they?
Nah... We know each other and get along very well.
And soon they will speak for themselves here anyway. Blondes, reds or blacks? Or even koreans? I’m talking about beers, you pervert.
Blondes, reds, blacks, international ones. But I’m not talking about beers (I don’t drink alcohol)

Shocking! We noticed that, at least in WIC parties, you’re surrounded by girls and homosexuals. On a last summer interview you admitted being formally engaged, How can you resist temptation?
Now, wait a minute. I like girls very much, and usually I don’t have any homosexual around… Oh! Maybe you are talking about Saggiorato! Yeah, you’re right. He needs a lot of affection and to be stroked now and then, you know. Good boy, though. But I really prefer to have girls around… And who says I resist temptation? Especially now, that I’m not engaged anymore (got it, ladies?)

I said no tongue! And wash your teeth!

By the way: there is the rumour that 2 elite athletes are a very happy gay couple. Can you reveal their names?
I didn’t want to be the one that reveals the secret but… It’s true: Saggio and Max Presti are gaily together and every marathon week-end it’s like a short honeymoon for them. They are a great couple, are they? But I wouldn’t know who is the passive one: it’s a very personal question that I will not ask. (I hope Simona is not reading this!). Since we are at it, there is another secret gay couple in the WIC world: Claudio Bontempo and Matteo Polletti!
We knew it! Thanks for confirming. Now, a mandatory question: who’s the sexiest skating chick in the world?
You can’t count Saggiorato, can you? Hell, it’s difficult. There are so many that I’m not able to choose one. Wait, the best looking one is… no, I’m not telling you!

OK, sod off. To the youngsters with WIC ambitions, what would be your counsel?
Follow the National Team objective, do a lot of track and loads of technique. It’s never late to go out and start at the marathons.

It's my cousin! I swear!

Tell me about it! Hey, do you use microbearings, or you don’t care what’s inside your wheels?
I always used the normal ones, but since I tested de micros last year I’m not using anything else except when it’s raining.
And when you stop racing what will you do? Downhill, perhaps?
I expect to be in a professionally sound position, and that’s my main objective. Then we will see: I might become a coach, if I’m able to do it… It’s early yet to know.

Yeah, mate: take your time, and enjoy while it lasts.

Chad Hedrick + DPRA
Luca Saggiorato