Planet Interview with Ippo Sanfratello, manager of the Fila International Racing Team:
Fila's Manager Says Team Remains Strong This Year
Last year, the Fila International racing team made sausage of the competition in the World Inline Cup.
Not only did it dominate the team standings, amassing nearly 800 points more than its nearest competitor (Saab-Salomon), but it placed its skaters first, second and third in the individual rankings.
This year, there is little doubt that Fila International will once again finish at -- or near -- the top in the World Inline Cup.
Top Two Skaters
A big part of the reason for this is the strength of the team's returning members: Massimiliano Presti, who finished first in last year's World Cup rankings; Luca Saggiorato, who finished second; and Baptiste Grandgirard, who finished eighth.
On the other hand, the team lost Francesco Zangarini, who finished third in the rankings and played an important role on last year's team as a "protector" for Presti.
(Protectors, or "domestiques," are assigned the role of helping a team's designated "winner" get to the finish line first. They do this in a number of ways, among them: allowing the "winner" to draft behind them and trying to break up attacks made by other teams.)
After the 2004 season, Zangarini signed with Team Bont, which he said is giving him a chance to take an "important" team role. It's not exactly clear what he meant by this, but apparently he won't be limited to the protector role this year.
New Team Members
Fila did not hire a new skater to replace Zangarini. Instead, it folded its "International B" team into its "A team." In this way, the team gained 15th ranked Mathieu Grandgirard and 41st ranked Matteo Polletti.
The question is whether the team -- without Zangarini -- will be strong enough to stay on top.
The answer will begin to emerge Sunday when the first World Inline Cup event of the season rolls through the streets of Seoul, Korea.
In the meantime, here's the Planet's interview with the coach of the Fila team, Ippolito Sanfratello, who is a former inline world champion and current world-class ice skater.
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson