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.
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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.