Roberto Mancini visits the National Cycling Centre
- Fri 05 Oct 2012, 9:27AM
- Posted by Nicola McCarthy
There can be few places in the world with so many champions and gold medal winners per square mile than East Manchester.
Barely a goal-kick away from the Etihad Stadium, home of the Premier League title holders, is Manchester's velodrome, home to Team GB cycling.
Roberto Mancini is an enthusiast of the two-wheeled sport and an avid Tour de France watcher, he says that he and his team can learn a lot from their East Manchester neigbours.
“I think there are ways we can improve and learn from other sports," he declared.
“Performance analysis is one area which is very strong in cycling and I think we can still improve on this, although there has been a lot of progress in recent years.
“I think that what I could learn from cyclists is that they work really hard.
“Sometimes we need to work more, because you can win only if you work hard and if you don’t work hard, you can’t win."
The Italian was given a guided tour of the Velodrome by Performance Director of British cycling and Team Sky General Manager Dave Brailsford, who admitted that learning is a two-way thing.
“What I’m interested in, in terms of Roberto’s experience, is how he manages different cultures and different types of players," he said.
“That’s the real skill and for me it is quite new as I’ve only been doing it for two or three years.
“So I think I could learn a lot from people like Roberto, how you actually manage those players and those potentially challenging players, because it is different from a national Olympic thing – very, very different.
The City boss is no stranger to the saddle himself and has recently been pictured arriving to the training ground atop his bespoke Manchester City bike.
“I started to cycle four years ago and it’s just fantastic. I cycle three or four times a week and I think that they work very hard – not me, the cyclists!” he smiled.
“I have a lot of respect for the riders because when I began to cycle, I realised how hard they have to work.
“I followed the Tour de France closely and growing up I always enjoyed watching cycling.”
One thing that both managers were agreed on is the importance of teamwork in achieving success.
“The common thing I think between both sports is building a team,” stressed Brailsford.
“I think you can get to a certain level as an individual in cycling, but when you get to the top level - the professional side - you realise very quickly that you can only work as part of a team, you can’t win on your own.
“Bradley (Wiggins) could not have won the Tour without the team around him.”
The City chief was also keen to highlight his belief that working as a unit is key.
“We need everyone to contribute to success at the end of the day it is the jersey that wins,” said Mancini.
“It’s got to be the team first.”
Look out for video coverage of the visit in the latest episode of Inside City on Saturday morning.