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Luca Saggiorato

A foreword: this is a serious and highly specialized publication that holds, among others, the mission to better understand the shakers and movers of our sport. But if we unravel the life of certain stars of the international scene, we might risk exposing details more suited to a tabloid format magazine. In the specific case of Luca Saggiorato, we can’t avoid that risk, since from last year we detected a few hearsays on his personal account.
A notably talented sprinter, number two of the WIC for 2 years in a row, at only 22 years of age he stands as one of the best paid athletes in the world, and remains one of the best “azzurri” champions of all time. So what did this guy do on his year away from skating? We will show you at the end of the interview, but first have a preview below…

Hmm...Yez! You reelly zmell like a woman, darlin'! (Mind you: she's not a skater)

Ok, tell me what was this story about biking...
Last year my intention was to start to do it seriously, as my new career. I even got a position in a semi-pro team. But I found out that cyclism is a very hard sport. In spite of lacking some technique, I did manage to do well in some races; nevertheless it was better for me to remain a skater: with considerably less effort I’m able to earn more money. At my age is difficult to reach the real pros level in that sport, but I really love it: it’s a very different world, an environment where you find true professionalism, all in nice harmony. It was a great experience that caught my enthusiasm.

That serves you well, Botero!

So you might try it again?
Well, now that speedskating is a bit on a crisis period, I’m thinking about it. But at 22 I should enter the “elite” category. Blend in, acquire experience, win races: it’s so hard! And since I got another good contract for 2006 (Salomon), I'll stick with skating for now.
You’re a personal friend of Cunego, right?
Yes, I met him at a party a few years ago. We train together sometimes around Garda Lake (cyclists paradise).
Good. What about 2005 worlds?
Well, I went to Incheon... What do you want me to say? It was my intention to participate in the Italian Track Championships, and I prepared well for them, but a couple of days before the event I got sick. The usual “experts” thought that I decided to stay home and relax, but the truth is that I presented to the Federation an official medical certificate stating that I was not able to compete, as the rules impose. I really wanted to do it, the track is one of my favourites (Imola). Anyway, World Champs aside, what really pisses me off is the fact that the Federation let me out of the World Games. I had earn the year before the right to be there, and they let me out just like that. No phone call, no official statement: I came to know it trough the Federation website. Very nice of them! I would have love to get an explanation: it would have been the logical procedure, at least in order to maintain a good relationship between officials and athletes. Amazing: until yesterday it was a phone call each day: “Hey Saggio!” here, “Hey Zanga” there… Today, if they see you around they turn their backs on you. Just like that. And nobody ever attempted to explain why all this!

Last season was a very good one for you: you can’t complain, can you?
Let’s say it was a positive season, obtaining a 1º and 2º place in the overall ranking even without the strong team we had in 2004. The French brothers (Grandgirard) unfortunately were not in top form throughout the season. Polletti...forget it (NdR: Matteo is seated there, stepping in sometimes, and having a laugh at his friend). Massi and me raced almost every marathon alone, against a complete and great team like RollerBlade. But I’m happy, I had more victories than 2004.

Shit! I bite my tongue again!

... in spite of the wet pavement most of the time!
Yeah! That was one of my soft spots, I wasn’t able to skate well under the rain. But I got better on that too!
When you’re racing, which one is your worst adversary?
There is no such thing. At the most, there are those that annoy me: the way I race, I hate those guys that attack all the time, again and again. Heck! Those guys are a pain in the neck, but if your team is strong enough, the problem is minimized. Being the two of us, it is not funny, believe me…
I believe you. In your opinion, is there doping in our sport?
I hope there is not. Especially considering that, for the amount of money involved in an hour’s race, I don’t think it’s justified. Anyway, I like the fact that from WIC’s next season there will be routinely anti-doping tests. A World Cup of any sport with professional ambitions must have these controls. Many people don’t know it, but in most countries, top level athletes of each sport must endure sudden controls acted by their own National Olympic Comitees. But in our environment, if somebody wins often rumours begin to spread: with those controls the rumours will be silenced.
Allow me to tell you a story: last year, after a marathon in Switzerland, an Italian Federation official (a high rank one, somebody that should protect me), asked me with a grin: “Did you take your pill?”

I can imagine who the bastard was. What did you answer?
That I’m always available to any kind of test they may care to do, from A to Z, after and before any race. By all means, I’m not aware of any skater that uses forbidden substances, and if there is any, they would be stupid, don’t you think? To me, doping does not exist in our sport, but people talks for the sake of it: if they see you taking an aminoacid or a simple carbohydrate sweet, they shout the scandal aloud:“Oh God! He took something!”. Perhaps, those who do the talking are the ones that take chemicals…

Is it the skinsuit or your beer gut? Is it the helmet or you're balding?

Righ. Talking about rumours, there are quite a few about you. Actually we are unable to understand which team do you play with. How many girls have you got this week?
Er… nil.
What! Well, at least in Buenos Aires you should definitely have got love bites...
Nyet. Nothing there either. I just got the flu.
Mhm… Nothing also in USA, same in Berlin. Can you tell us who’s the sexiest gal in speedskating?
(he thinks for a while... a very long while). To be honest, I can’t say that there are sexy girls in our sport.

Really? Not even one?
(Poletti starts to talk for the umpteenth time, Saggio gets angry) For f*+@’s sake, Poletti! Am I talking or what!
Back to the question: I don’t want to say that they’re all ugly, but to me they seem a bit too much “masculine”.

Sniff, sniff... Yez, you zmell of woman too!

Is that so? Please continue...
Yeah... I mean: the one that has a nice face has a manly body, and the one that has a great body generally has a dog’s face. In my opinion, there are so much more beautiful boys in speedskating.
Ok, we get it. Thanks, Lucy!


Several versions exist about Saggiorato’s activities during the full year in which he was away from the skating world. The truth is finally revealed, ladies and gentlemen: Saggio is a part-time model for a notorious Milanese agency specialized in a specific target of patronage. Please find below some pictures that graphically illustrates the off-skating talents of our beloved Italian champion.
We are in the possession of several pictures of him taken in an Ibiza same-gender oriented disco, but we prefer not to make public them in order to follow our own earnestness. Remember: this is a serious publication that avoids playing on trivialities.


Francesco Zangarini
Bill Begg