One of the biggest moves this transfer season has come from Matteo Iachino who steps away from Fanatic and on to Starboard. The slalom star had a blinding season during 2015 and now hopes to continue his form and perhaps even improve for 2016 with his all new board sponsor. Starboard caught up with the man himself for a review on his season and a few other intriguing questions. You can read the official press on Iachino’s move by clicking here.
SB: Matteo Congratulations on your sailing in 2015. Did you think you could win the tour last year?
MI: Well I think that everybody who joins the tour has this goal, but to really think and to really believe in it is something different. You need to prove to yourself that you’re able to do it first.
SB: At one stage during the tour you were leading, so did the thought of actually finishing first overall ever enter your mind?
MI: Yes after I won the event in Costa Brava I saw that it was possible. This event was light wind so we all struggled but then after I was also fighting for the win in Fuerte, which was totally opposite with super high winds, so my diversity definitely gave me some confidence that it could be possible to win the tour.
SB: Did you get nervous when you realised you were on top of the tour?
MI: I wasn’t nervous until just before the last event, because I knew I had to get a proper result to win the first position, and be on the podium. So in one way I was relaxed, and the other way it was a lot of pressure because I really wanted to win. Also a lot of guys were expecting me to win because I showed during the year I could do it, and that made me a bit nervous.
SB: Were you happy with your 3rd overall?
MI: Initially I would have liked to be first obviously but now I’m relaxed, and I’m really happy about my result. I didn’t put a goal for myself to be no.1 before the tour, I just said to myself that I want to improve all the time and I want to see my hard work pay off. I also know my limits so my goal was actually top 5 and not to win. So I did better than what I was expecting. For sure when I saw that I could win I did really want to win, and when I was leaving for the last event I was thinking “I need to win!”. But looked back with what I achieved I’m super happy about what I did.
SB: Is Antoine unbeatable?
MI: When I started Antoine was quite unbeatable. I would say there were only 5 guys that could beat him, but he was always on another level. Now however he’s really close to us, and we are all training a lot more. The experience he has counts less now because we are getting close to the same experience. As a result I think that he can be beaten but nobody has done it until now, so it’s time for one of us to prove it.
SB: Before each heat do you have a certain plan in your head, and do you repeat this plan at each start?
MI: Well it all depends on which round it is. In the 1st and 2nd round I’m just focused on passing and getting through to the semi final. Then I just focus on the best way to get to the final. Once and only when I’m there I think about the points I have and what I have to do exactly. The best thing I can do is to be consistent.
SB: Do you concentrate on who is in your heat, or do you just concentrate on yourself?
MI: It’s hard to focus on you only but yes that’s what I do. You need to think where is best to start from, and not think about anyone else. It’s not easy to do because you need to see the others around you to get a good start. I guess you could say it’s a balance of thinking about yourself and also about what is happening around you. My advice would be to focus on yourself and your timing at the start and everything else will fall into place.
SB: There are currently a lot of riders around your age, however you seem to be on somewhat of a different level, what do you think you are doing differently?
MI: Ha thanks, I don’t know exactly but I feel like I trained a lot in the last 3 years, especially in wintertime. I was just focused on getting the result, because it’s the most important thing I can have in my life at this point. At one stage I arrived at a point where I decided it was my main goal, so I started to work hard for it and I haven’t stopped since.
If you work hard for something, only fill your mind with it, and if you don’t get too stressed then it’s going to work out.
SB: You just signed with Starboard, in the beginning we’re you apprehensive to join such a big team?
MI: No not at all. Yes it’s a big team but that’s good because there are a lot of riders with different abilities. Starboard have the young guys, the experienced riders, and others in between. I can learn from each one of them. In the end you compete with everyone even if you’re on the same team or not.
SB: What attracted you to sign with Starboard?
MI: If you ask around, the general opinion is that Starboard are special in slalom. The iSonic is the board to be on. If you look at the career of Starboard, it’s been consistently at no.1 on the PWA Constructor podium. They have the best boards and the strongest teams, so if you can get in Starboard with a good deal it’s like a dream come true.