Aldo Sassi to tame the Cobra?

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

La Gazzetta Dello Sport says that Italian coaching maestro Aldo Sassi is ready and willing to work with Riccardo Ricco. “I know it could put my credibility in play but it’s easy to pick challenges you can’t lose. Sometimes you have to take risks with something big” says the Italian coach.

Sasso works on Ivan’s mind

Sassi is well-respected and a militant supporter of clean cycling. He says not only does he want to work on the physical training but on how the rider deals with the media and others around him. “This is what I did with Basso, especially the communication aspect“. This has worked well, Basso has managed to recover some of the lost credibility following his involvement with Dr Fuentes and his blood bank. He invited the media to attend his training sessions, even “embedding” them in the Basso household or his altitude camps for several days at a time. Liquigas have since adopted the policy, inviting the media to their training camps.

Nevertheless, whilst Sassi is a jovial and polite man I feel a certain unease at this. Why? Because Sassi is already working with Basso and Cunego, plus several others. I don’t think a coach should take on too many competing riders. How do you prevent a rider getting favourite treatment? Can you really train several riders to go head to head in the Giro whilst knowing the intimate details of each rider, such as their lactate levels and wattages?

Even assuming all riders get perfect advice, this means they have followed the same training plan when if you want to beat your rivals, you need an edge on them.

Sassi is battling cancer these days. Perhaps the fragility of life is encouraging him to take more risks, perhaps not. Either way, let’s hope Sassi’s back in forma soon.


Photo: L’Equipe

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{ 4 comments }

Reuben September 29, 2010 at 8:48 am

If the giro was raced on wattages alone, maybe you would be right. But this years could have gone another way due to getting into/missing the right break. Evans and Basso are both trained by him (right?), but their genetic makeup is different. So they might be the best they can be, but they're better at different things compared to each other. So they have to tactically play to their strengths. Not much the coach can do about that.

Bit odd to be coaching so many riders though. Hope he keeps Ricco on the straight and narrow.

TheInnerRing September 29, 2010 at 8:53 am

Absolutely Reuben. Training is but one component of the win and there are so many variables. Sassi can't control much of this.

But what if Sassi knew Cunego was trying to improve his climbing or was working on his sprint to get time bonuses? Would he keep this quiet from Basso? It's all a little complicated.

Either way, Ricco needs all the help he can get to anchor him in the real world.

Reuben September 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm

I'm not sure how Basso knowing this would make a difference – unless he sent team mates up the road to sweep these up. Or they let a break go to sweep them up. Which he maybe ought to be doing anyway.

But I take your point – it could be an issue. However I don't think it had any bearing on the Evans/Basso battle in this years Giro.

Who else does he coach? Do you know? Just interested :-)

TheInnerRing September 29, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Michele Ferrari was coaching several riders at the same time and once was advising Armstrong/Bruyneel in "real time" during a race.

As for Sassi's other clients, the list is very long. From bigger names to water carriers, and amatuers, dilletante and weekend warriors alike.

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