Where is your home base?
"Podere le Calagne" (Marco's new house in Castel Arquato close Fiorenzuola/Italy)
You travel a lot for racing, how often do you get to be "home"?
During the year, I am on the road racing for at least 150 days. The rest of the time, I 'm at home or at my parents place in Milano... or on holiday...
What is your wildest travel experience (bike/race related)?
It was a North American trip in 2007 with my former team. We were young and did not a have plan on where to go. We ended up going 300km South instead of going North from the airport. I was driving and my teammates were sleeping. When I realized my mistake, I just turned around and did not even tell them... it took them a while to find out... a lot more of those things happened on this trip.
Has anyone ever recognized you in an airport or on a plane?
Yes. It was actually on a holiday trip to Sansibar. For some reason a group of Italian tifosi (cycling fans) went to the same place...
How did you first become interested in the sport and was has your progression been athletically?
My family had a really nice house at Lago Maggiore in Italy where we always went for holiday. At that time I still was into a lot of different sports like soccer, karate and some others.
That year my dad gave me my first mountain bike and I enjoyed playing around with it on the trails, stairs, jumps and rocks. For some reason I started to love it, but close to my parents place in Milan there was no mountain biking going on, so I started with road racing, which I never liked. I switched to cyclocross, which I enjoyed a lot and still do! The next step then was the mountain bike... here I am!!!
You wear a very special uniform, could you talk about what it means?
The Italian Champion jersey to me means representing my country. Wearing the Italian flag on my jersey, makes me proud and I feel I can bring Italy to the world... plus it looks super sexy... don't you agree?
You race and train with the CFR team, any funny stories to share?
Oh my god, there are so many, as we are like a big family, and since manuel joined us it got even worse with those stories... he is such a character... Dalby Forest World Cup sprint race: After qualification there was some time to kill for finals, but we did not know 100% how long it would be, as its an open schedule. It could have been between 5 and 30 minutes.
Manuel asked me: Fonzie, we go for coffee? I was not too sure about the idea, but said: Why not...! So we went back to the house which was just 500 meters away from the race course and had a quick espresso.
At the race venue the other heats went quicker than expected and our semi finals came close, which we did not know, but the team on site did. We did not have phones or radios with us... Stefan our physio came running to pick us up, but we went out of the door the other side just before he came in, so he missed us and went back to the warm up area, where the tension got higher. On our way back, we by chance met Harry Catchpole, the editor of my favourite car magazine, EVO, so i had to take the chance and give him my compliments. Manuel and i made it back just in time... pretty funny for us, but it cost the team some nerves... hahaha
You have ridden and raced a number of Cannondale bikes, are there any scenarios where you prefer one bike over the others?
To be honest, I love my Flash 26 so much that I race it 90% of the time! In really rough conditions and after my shoulder injury I chose the Scalpel, to be a bit more comfortable.
Any special hidden talents, aside from being a world-class athlete?
I think I can drive my sports car around the corners pretty quickly, and the same with my Cannondale S440 super moto... even though my team manager does not like this ability too much...