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A race against time: an Interview with Adriano Malori

Time is the dimension in which the passing of events is conceived and measured: if the perceived one is relative and depends on the states of mind (sometimes it is a moment, sometimes it seems to last an eternity), the physical one is measurable and represents the distance between events.
If we think of it as an essential factor in everyday life, the lack of time is one of the most frustrating and unfortunately normal human conditions of recent times, but if we adopt it as a parameter in the success or failure in a sport, having the better of time and opponents in timed competitions is always synonymous with victory.

Persevere in your workout

In cycling, for example, to be successful in time trial races requires exceptional perseverance, effort, and sacrifice, both in the race and in training. You're alone, there's no support team or gregarious team that can pull you the group.  Discipline and constancy are fundamental in order to be able to effectively fight time in the first person, both for oneself and for others.
All weapons that Adriano Malori, who turns 30 in January, one of the greatest cyclist specialising in time trial stages ever, two times European champion U23, two times Italian time trial champion, vice-champion of the world in Richmond in 2015, has shown to possess during his career as a professional. And it is precisely the above determination that drove him to move forward in difficult moments when he was pro, the same one that he preaches today with constancy, humility and passion to the athletes he trains.
Yes, because today Malo is a coach, pushing others to improve, to overcome their limits and obviously to defeat time, with method and dedication. Malo has in fact become for Technogym a trainer for the MYCYCLING coach team, professionals who help to optimise training and to live the experience of roller training at home in the most fun and effective way possible.
"I've always liked doing what I do, and being a MYCYCLING coach is a great source of pride for me," he says in a phone conversation at Technogym Newsoom just a few days after the start of the Nine Hills of Sadness Italy where he will be present at our stand to test in person, whoever he wants, on the wonders of training on this exceptional smart trainer. "It's the product with the most similar feeling to road training on the market.
When started cycling for the first time, did it feel completely natural?
I started out for play, like all children who start cycling. The story that everyone knows is that my country's greengrocer needed me to make up the numbers and complete the team and asked my parents if I had started cycling again because the season was starting again. I said why not, let us try. I've liked it a lot since my first training sessions. In my first race I came second overall, it was 1995.

At the end of each year I wondered whether to continue or not, but in the end I always continued. When I got to the students I understood that was my way.

It's been a passion you've discovered little by little. What was your first top moment when you were a young cyclist?
It was my first real success since Juniors in Lugo San Marino in 2003, which at the time was the most important race for students, the longest in Italy for the category, and it is perhaps the most beautiful memory and the most significant event of my cycling career at the time.
Then you win the European in Arona, Italy, in Sofia silver.
Yes I was amateur. In 2008 I won, in addition to the European, also the world under 23, then I came second in the world under 23 of 2015.
How does a timekeeper achieve success? You're alone against time, and that's something that would make anyone feel a little anxious.
Mental training is very important, mental coaching is very important, the head component weighs between 60 and 80 percent. You always need the strength to react to adversity alone, in the Cronus you cannot ask anyone to change. You must be physically and therefore mentally disposed.
What does it mean for you to be a coach today? Is it a way of thinking, a way of life or a sensitivity that develops day after day?
For me it's just about helping other people feel better. When a client tells me that he has transformed and goes beyond his limits, I am very happy.  That was what I felt when I improved, when I approached the results. I simply want to pass on the same feeling to others. When a customer tells me that he has never been able to go so strong for me its victory or he made a record in a great climb, or I managed to get to the podium, these are many small satisfactions that make it a great one. I do not have the basis of studies that other teachers have, but I have a practical side that is having great success because I believe that in the end it serves a lot. That is exactly what people want.
Given the difficulty in modern times to train clients in a short time, how do you reconcile the planning of activities with the scarcity of time available?
Hey, you know, people work, people who look for me are ordinary people, and the first question I ask people who look for me is how many hours can you train a day? I base my working philosophy on the time available, and on the time these give me. There are customers, for example, who cannot cycle in winter because it is dark early or it is cold.
What is the relationship between amateur cyclist and smart trainers?
For an amateur, smart trainer is essential. Almost everyone cannot go out on the road for a question of time, so it is essential. The trick to be able to do a workout is to give very varied programs at intensities and cadences that vary greatly. I never do more than a few minutes, then I think about the next stage of training, how they should do it. In fact no one realizes the time that passes, so the time passes more quickly. I try to combine training and fun, because sometimes the rollers are considered boring.
Determination. How do you find it in yourself and how do you pass it on to others? How much has it weighed on your professional growth?
I was determined because basically it was my life and my passion, it came by itself. Determination in amateurs either comes alone or you can't force it. If a customer tells me "today I don't go out because I'm tired and because yesterday instead of eight hours of work I did eleven I can't force him to go out or tell him the the next day he has to do eight hours of work again. Environmental and life factors count for a great deal, at an amateur level, and we must take into account what has been done in the rest of the day. The cyclist always has the last word.
The fact that then you can train at home with MYCYCLING has some advantages in this case. What's the real plus of everyday training?
The real plus is the planning of indoor training.  The mistake is that when they see it raining outside, they get on, like an hour, maybe in front of a movie and think they have already done it. I do not think that is the way things are. MYCYCLING offers you an active interface with the coach even when you're on the rollers, then it offers you a realism of pedaling that borders the road effect.

They told me: "You have to improve uphill, you have to improve in stage races". Instead, I have shown that with the stopwatch you can get very far.

Training is important, but genetics is also important. Can you summarize them?
Genetics is certainly a big help, but with a workout you get much closer to the effects of genetics. For example, an athlete with an excellent genetics who trains little and an athlete with a mediocre genetics who trains consistently will get the same results. The world today knows many tools, with the thousand options that there are even the average athlete can get closer to those who have a high genetics. In general, the muscles of those who have genetics have another answer, more effective and faster.
The specialists over the years have been different, we will soon go deeper with an article devoted to the time trial cycling stage. On a personal attitude level, has anyone ever discouraged you from starting your professional cycling career?
There were so many people who did not believe that with the time trial stages I would build a professional career. I'm told you have to improve uphill, you have to improve in stage races where there are also stopwatches. I have shown, however, that you can get a lot further with the chronometer. To tell the truth, in my best years I've had a bit of a fuss in crossing athletes like Cancellara, Wiggins or Tony Martin. To every boy who, like me, thought of aiming at the stopwatch to achieve success they gave him the looks of a poor madman. So they told me to predict another direction, I continued and it became something I picked up.
The theme of nutrition is what you think are the most effective foods in achieving performance, both in preparation and when you're performing.
I had a big improvement when I stopped eating pasta and started with rice. Rice gives you the right amount of carbohydrates, as does pasta, but without the glycemic peak of carbohydrate. It is a general tip to all those who want to do sport.
What happens to your head when you're in a difficult moment on your bike? How do you react to moments of complexity?
It is very personal to do this to others. That is a very open question. To load myself before a stopwatch or in difficult moments I thought of all the things that have made me angry the most in the last year, so I was able to write those two drops of adrenaline that allowed me to make a difference.

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