The Italian team IRD has a long history dating back to its foundation in 2010 under the name of Squadra Corse. This year they have some strong riders with Daniele Callegarin, Alessandro Mariani, and Jasmine Dotti all competing in the front of the Red Hook Criterium finals. Being backed by a solid staff and their main sponsor Carrera everything can happen. We spoke with Matteo Zazzera, the founder and director of the team to get to know more about the team, the riders, its history, and the philosophy of the team.
Text: Brian Megens
Photography: Emanuele Barbaro
On the question on what he hopes to achieve with the athletes in the team Matteo gives a quite remarkable answer “We are trying to grow them first as valid people, rather than as athletes. The world needs beautiful people, not strong athletes. There have been many failures, but our “tiny” successes have blown us out of joy. “Falling & Rising. The victory of a single athlete is a team work that also begins months before the finish line itself. Our athletes are all self-taught in terms of workouts and nutrition, but we know perfectly all their preparation so we can trust them completely to avoid another “Mario” (Paz Duque) case. At the same time, however, they do not have to worry about all the other aspects. I am fortunate to have the best staff available, who are meeting all the needs of every single athlete. Whether they are traveling needs, or materials needs. They are almost all former athletes themselves, or industry professionals. We have everything available: from sports director to image consultant, from professional mechanic to video maker. Our strength is above all in the staff.”
Being team director for the 7th consecutive year in a row it is fair to say that Matteo has some experience in dealing with sponsors. “It is something that we have to work constantly and daily on. You have to know how to measure the attention, share as much as possible and know how to measure the importance of a sponsor rather than another. Rule number one: you must always be grateful, even to the sponsor who gives you a pin; Because he probably put all his work, dedication, and investment into that spike. Rule number two: Never put the sponsors in the competition, but make them collaborate. Everyone must feel involved with the same importance, all must feel important with the same involvement. Never let a sponsor be less generous than one who is the most. Rule number three: I’ll tell you in another interview …”
When asked about how Red Hook Crit Brooklyn No.10 went for the team Matteo answers “Summing up the men’s standings, along with the female one, has been a great milestone. Absolute for Daniele Callegarin and sixth overall for Jasmine Dotti confirmed that we should not be afraid to build a Racing Team for the whole new 2017 but that our limit was only mental, and we just have to learn to abandon our old habits And let us “contaminate” new experiences that every new rider can bring to the Racing Team. Surely after the RHC BK 10 we learned so many things … The most important thing is not feeling inferior to anyone. We all start to win, the difference makes the commitment we put to it. Give the best, first and foremost.”
The goal for 2017? “Win a Stage of the Red Hook Criterium 2017, whether male or female.”
Formation 2017: Alessandro Mariani, Andrea Vassallo, Daniele Callegarin, Fabio Scarazzati, Jasmine Dotti, Virginia Cancellieri