Interviewed by "Gazzetta dello Sport" and other media both after the race and his comeback to Italy, brand new Road World Champion Mario Cipollini talked about the build-up for the race, the race itself, and his hopes and targets for the future. Below are a few quotes:
"Sometimes when you get great results you may expect a few other things to change too. And when this does not happen, you may be disappointed and go through bad times. But when you do this job, you learn to go on and aim for bigger targets, instead of give up everything".
"I got the best possible things a rider like me could long for, but also as I had the luck of receiving a fundamental help from several collaborators and excellent team-mates".
"There was huge respect amongst Italian riders over the last few days. No quarrels at all, not even the smallest one. Everybody was feeling comfortable inside the group. It was my first time at Worlds, but other, more experienced riders told me that in past years it wasn't the same, probably due to the presence of three or four different team leaders, each one with his own personality, such that finding good harmony among them was no easy task. I can tell you that this year all members of the squad were training together, something that didn't happened many times before; and this helped us to get even more united, and consequently achieve such a good result".
"I would be delighted if my victory might help the whole Italian cycling in such bad times, that I hope may be over soon. There are many things that should be fixed now. Of course I can't pretend to be the saviour, but I'll try to make the most out of this victory not just at personal level, but also in order to help all other riders to have their voices heard and views listened a little more".
"The enthusiasm fans showed, and the way they welcomed us when we got back to our country really pleased me. You are always glad to know that your performances were a source of emotions to the people following them. But I still need to fully realize what I did. You know, being a World Champion gives you a big responsability, but now it's mainly the source of a huge joy".
"During the press conference and the Award ceremony, I looked even too serious parhaps, but that's because the Rainbow Jersey deserves full respect. I couldn't start joking in such circumstances".
"This season has been an extraordinary one to me. I have achieved great results, but in different ways. Not that I wasn't hoping for a victory at Milan-San Remo, but it came as more unexpected than the success at the Worlds, where I also enjoyed the help of a magnificent team from beginning to end".
"The days before the race, I was taking it easy. I was quite calm, also because I was aware of the fact that I've always been a true professional. And the words and tactics coming from both Ballerini and (former national team coach) Alfredo Martini in the last meetings held before the race, had a good effect, as they gave us a further motivation to stand united. Martini is man often able to find the right words. Also the presence of so many Italian fans and emigrants along the route, giving us their full, incredible support, played its part".
"As for new targets and motivations, well, I think it will not be difficult for me to find them. When you do this kind of job, you always have to look for this kind of things. I may start by saying that one of my possible targets for the coming season could be winning Milan-San Remo with the Rainbow Jersey on my shoulders. Something only few champions have been able to do".