Sports Festival, Ganna: “I’m aiming for the Olympics, yes to the Giro, no Tour”

Filippo guest of the Festival: “This sport has allowed me to learn English well, but I tell the kids that school is important”

“Full speed”. Never was a more appropriate name for the event dedicated to Filippo Ganna. An absolute phenomenon, capable of breaking records and becoming a legend of cycling and Italian sport. In a Philharmonic hall packed to the nines, the athlete originally from Verbania gives life to a lively story, full of ideas and anecdotes together with Davide Cassani and Rachele Sangiuliano. With the future clearly set in mind: “The goal of the season is the Olympics. And I will also do the Giro d’Italia. It will be a complicated but beautiful journey. There are many stages with many difficulty stars straight away. However, I will not participate in the Tour.”

medal and record

The story is permeated by many memories and two special dedications: the triumph at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the team pursuit and the hour record (56.792): “At the Olympics we wanted to surprise the world and in the end we surprised ourselves. At night I looked at the medal and wondered if we hadn’t stolen it. An incredible joy that repaid us for so many efforts. The hour record – continues Ganna – came after three defeats: two stages at the Tour and the World Championship in Australia. But my father taught me to always give more to beat myself. The last five minutes I couldn’t take it anymore and I was praying for it to end.”


Presented to the tune of Bach, masterfully played by the organist Stefano Rattini, Ganna recounted his life divided into seven stages, sparing no detail on his journey from childhood to today. From the choice to dedicate himself only to cycling after the World Championships in Florence in 2013 (“at least this sport allowed me to learn English well, but I tell the kids that school is important”), to the 25 time trial wins in his career: “I applied myself, but when the time trial is long, at the end you try to think about the songs you listened to in the warm-up, because the pain in your legs is terrible. You have to take your attention away from the pain.”

the other triumphs

Moving on to the triumph in 2016, the first world gold in individual pursuit on the track, at the age of 20: “An avalanche came upon me, I didn’t think I’d win. And to think that I had a very heavy breakfast: bacon and Nutella.” Without forgetting the historic World Championships in Imola in 2020. The first time trial World Championships in Italy’s history: “It was something incredible. The head sometimes serves much more than the legs”: everything already seen in the mind of the Italian phenomenon the day before, when he sent a text message to Davide Cassani, then his coach: “Tomorrow I want to win”. Simple, concise. Done. And then there was room for the triumph in Glasgow, with an extraordinary comeback in the last two laps which earned him his sixth World Championship: “One life, I gave everything and managed to do it. It was a hard-fought triumph.”


Pressed by Davide Cassani, Ganna then talks about the dream of winning the Milan-Sanremo “Many riders have come close and some have won it. I hope to soon return to that group of athletes who have managed to conquer it. It’s a very difficult race, you arrive empty at the end and you just want to get to Sanremo.”