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08 Aug 2023Eva Alberini

Filippo Ganna by gold: resounding comeback on Dan Bigham in the individual pursuit

It’s been just over 24 hours since Italy’s first medal at the World Cycling Championships in Glasgow 2023, and it’s from the track that our tricolor brings home another victory: in the final for the world title of individual pursuit, Staged on the evening of August 6, Filippo Ganna proclaims himself in a spectacular way World Champion winning in comeback on the British Dan Bigham.

The audience of the velodrome Sir Chris Hoy witnessed an extraordinary victory of the cyclist from Verbania. Started at a net disadvantage on Dan Bigham who with a time of 4'02"030 was vying for gold. Filippo a kilometer from the end - out of 4 - was detached of 2'168: an infinity. And still of 1"7 to less 500 meters, of 0"558 to -125. But despite everything he won with a resounding comeback, winning the victory of 0"054, that is 84 cm, with a time of 4'01"976. Ganna has made himself known for these sensational recoveries, which make the final heart-pounding like that of a few hours ago live. To name one, Tokyo 2021: it was he who dragged his very strong teammates Lamon, Consonni and Milan to the Olympic gold in the quartet. New Zealand, in the first round, led by 3/10 at minus 500 meters, burned for 0"090. Denmark, in the final, 0"166 after entering the last km ahead of 0"867. Even against Jonathan Milan himself, last year, in the Italian final of the chase, he was down after 2 km. The magic with Top Ganna does not happen only on track. We return for a moment to the world time trial of 2021 in Bruges when the Belgian public silenced recovering Van Aert winning the second title of specialty: lost 6"68 after 13.8 km, 0"84 at 33.3 km, before rushing to the finish line 10 km after with the 5"37 needed for gold. We had already discussed this in this previous article.

The question arises: how does it do? To try to better understand the characteristics of our champion, we talked to the technicians who take care of his preparation: Marco Villa, c.t. of the track; Diego Bragato, head of performance of the FCI; Dario Cioni, technician and coach of Ganna in the club Ineos-Grenadiers.


PERSONAL MANAGEMENT. Filippo suffers from a quick start, so it is better to give him time to "align with the chronometer" and give him the opportunity to express everything by the end - explains Villa -. Logical, to do so you have to know yourself perfectly to start pushing at the right time. If you run like this and lose by coming to the end with something still in you, you’ll regret not having started before. But in management, in the administration of effort, he became a master». Now. But in the past... "It was not so. I think of the first individual chase from Jr, to Anadia in Portugal. A disaster. He was already the strongest, but he came fourth. In qualifying he started slowly against a weak opponent. He saw him ahead, he pushed, the last two laps went faster than the Under 23. But "only" the third time. In the final third-fourth place, he started with a rocket and came to a standstill. We worked hard. Training, competitions, analysis, progressions".

MUSCULAR STRUCTURE. In the specific recovery on track - says Diego Bragato -, to Filippo you can not ask a start of the level of a Milan. It depends on the type of fiber, the power peak. Jonathan is also "great", but he is faster. In fact he wins the group sprints and can be the starting man in the quartet, while Ganna is perfect as a 'fourth' and has fibers that are still fast, but more resistant. Two key concepts are those of lactic acid power and lactic acid capacity, two physiological components that emerge precisely in the final phase of the chase. Its history shows that it is at the top because it has excellent values. In short, the lactic acid power is the ability of the organism to express power on maximum efforts between 2' and maximum 4-6'. While the lactic acid capacity concerns the ability to redeem the accumulation of lactic acid after maximal efforts beyond the minute. That is to prolong the effort, to be able to carry it out for more time than others».

STRATEGY. The reasoning of Dario Cioni - who has already studied in detail the path of Friday, which ends uphill at the castle of Stirling - starts instead from a simple but not at all obvious consideration: Compared to the track, in a time trial there are many more variables. I think about the type of route, the weather, the different departure times. And the strategic component must vary according to all this. In Bruges 2021 he won by a comeback, but for example the year before at Imola he made the difference in the first part, because for him he was better suited to gain an advantage; in the second was Van Aert to recover something. But surely the ideal time is when you arrive knowing you have spent everything, just everything you had. In a test against time, the greater energies are consumed in the parts where you can gain more time. And certainly Filippo has everything to finish his trials in crescendo, if needed. He learned how to dose».



source: Gazzetta dello Sport, 08/08/2023