RT: How do you balance your work and family life?
FC: Good question. Is there a balance to it or is it more of an “integration”? I think the biggest difference to being an athlete is the shorter period of time you stay away from home. Back in the days I was off for almost 4 weeks during the Tour de France – and the family knew. Nowadays I am off for 2 days, 1 week, a few hours. This “unpredictability” is something that’s difficult. But I am learning how to plan and inform well ahead.
RT: How has your training program changed throughout your career?
FC: The training program itself has changed, yes. But what has changed most are the little gadgets you have in training. When I joined Team Mapei back in 2000, which was the “Real Madrid of Cycling” at that time, I got a heartrate belt. And I was like, “WOW!”. Today, all the riders are monitored, starting with cadence sensors, power meters, even the gears are recorded so your coach can exactly see in which gear you ride. This is maybe the biggest change. And of course, if you are an athlete at the top of the sport for 10 years, you start to well “plan” your peaks in training and you learn to know your body better and better. So you also have to trust in your feeling.