Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was a special guest of British Cycling on Thursday, the Italian meeting Performance Director Dave Brailsford and riders on the Great Britain Cycling Team as well as receiving a tour of the National Cycling Centre.
Mancini chats with Dave Brailsford (left) and Ed Clancy (right)
Mancini, a keen cyclist himself, was shown behind the scenes by Brailsford to view some of the work that has helped deliver 16 Olympic gold medals over the past two Games, speaking to riders and staff including Olympic champions Jason Kenny, Ed Clancy and Philip Hindes in the track centre.
The former Italian international footballer, who guided City to the Premier League title last season, revealed he regularly enjoys cycling to the club’s Carrington training ground and admitted his own experience has only furthered his respect for the professionals.
“I started to go on a bike four years ago. It’s fantastic. I think these guys they work very hard."
“I started to go on a bike four years ago. It’s fantastic. I think these guys they work very hard. This sport is very tough,” Mancini said.
“I have a lot of respect for the cyclists for that. I remember when I started to cycle I understood just how hard they had to work every day and sometimes I wonder how it’s possible they can train for three or four hours every day on the bike.”
Along with Brailsford, the pair then spoke with national print and broadcast media in the Manchester Velodrome, discussing amongst other things the belief that there were elements each could learn from the other and their respective sports.
“I’m interested in terms of Roberto’s experience of managing different cultures, different types of players, big characters, lots of money,” Brailsford said in reference to his role as Team Sky’s Team Principal.
“That’s a great skill he has. For me it’s quite new, for two or three years I’ve been doing that. I could learn a lot how to manage the potentially challenging players. It’s very different from a national team where you have what you’ve got.”
When asked about performance analysis, Mancini added: “In football we have improved on this in the last ten years but cycling is still stronger than football in this way.”
He also referred to British Cycling’s use of sports psychology to help riders achieve their goals. “Football is different from cycling, we probably need to work with psychologists more but we don’t.”
Before leaving, Mancini was presented with his own Team Sky jersey, personalised with his name and the colours of the Italian flag.