Nibali, a champion under the microscope. Interview with Michele Pallini
How did you become Nibali's masseur?
I obtained my Diploma in massotherapy in 1996 and the same day of the final exam I left for my first Giro d'Italia. Now I’ve reached the twenty-first season among professionals and over the years I have gained lots of professional knowledge always in the context of my work, without forgetting my diploma as a professional healthcare assistant. I'm from Pisa and the little free time I have is devoted to my wife Elena and my two children Paolo and Arianna.
Is it true that your other passion is cycling which you did as a child? And that it is a family passion?
Yes, I also played football, I was a rather strong defender! But the true family passion was cycling. My father Paolo and my uncle Luigi were rather good amateur cyclists and they were the ones who “infected” me. I started cycling as a beginner up to the junior category, from 13 up to 18, then I left for my military service and effectively I stopped.
How did you meet Nibali? And what is your relationship with him today?
We met during the pre-Olympic competition in Beijing in 2007 and then the following year in Liquigas. Our professional relationship grew from day to day both with the team and, as we lived nearby in Tuscany, I went to his house for massages. Over the years this relationship further consolidated and I would say that we have become good friends.
How is the champion up close?
I do not see the champion, I only see Vincenzo.
Have you shared any important successes, what is the time that, up to now, cannot be forgotten?
When he won the yellow jersey in Sheffield, it was not just a great emotion but a big surprise. His victories excite me, but my first reaction is to immediately think about what comes next, I often watch Vincenzo's endeavours after some time has elapsed and it is then that I let my deepest emotions run free.
What is the role of the physiotherapist in cycling, based on both stage races and one-day races?
There is no big difference, even though for stage races the presence of the physiotherapist is also important before the start of the race and therefore during the retreats, the training camps which are held beforehand. Practical work is the same whether it is a stage or a one-day race, while the mental approach is different.
Which of the Sixtus Italia products do you use? With which purposes and results?
For the team, my colleagues and I use various Sixtus products starting from Startoil and from Startcream which we use before the race, especially when the weather is cold. After the competition, during the massage, we use Neutral Oil and **Neutral Cream*. Personally, I like all the products I have mentioned, which not only meet the athletes’ needs perfectly, but in my opinion are quality products with a great yield. In addition to these products, I also work a lot with the *Dream K** line of tapes with satisfying results.
In conclusion: the 2017 objectives now you are in the Bahrain-Merida team… My goals go hand in hand with Vincenzo’s. As you know, at the top of the list there is the Anniversary edition of the Giro d’Italia, then we will see…