An interview with Matteo Cigala!
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you live, and what do you do? What do you like to do for fun? Family life, that sort of stuff.
Live in Wicklow, Ireland. I run a cycling business that focuses on coaching, an online shop, and cycling holidays.
For fun, if not on the bike, I like to go out with friends, travel, and visit my family back home in Lake Garda, Italy.
What is your cycling story? When did you start competing, and what is your racing history? What is your most significant accomplishment racing on the road?
I like to think that riding for my nation, at both junior and elite levels for me, is the most accomplishment, more than any wins.
There is a little more about this question on my website.
What is your virtual cycling story? How and when did you get involved in esports? What is your most significant accomplishment racing virtually?
I started mainly with the pandemic. Before, I was doing it more on and off. It really helped me get back in shape and be competitive again on the road when events got back. The most significant accomplishment in esports is representing Italy at the UCI Esports World Championship in 2022.
Tell us about your esports team. How has racing with your team prepared you for this moment? Is there anything unique about your team that has contributed to your success?
I ride for Wahoo LeCol. It is a fantastic group of people who motivate each other. Of course, everything is well run and organized, making things easier for riders. But the motivation among members is what can contribute to success.
For a frame of reference, how tall are you, and approximately how much do you weigh in competition? What is your indoor PB for Peak Power, 15-second, 1-minute, 5-minutes, and 20-minutes?
I weigh approx 65. You can find an extensive list of my online and real-life PBs on my ZwiftPower Profile.
You’ll find Matteo’s ZwiftPower profile here!
What type of rider are you? Has your riding style evolved as you become more involved and successful in esports?
I am complete. I defend myself in short climbs, and I am quick on sprints. I like explosive finishes. More like Alaphilippe on the road?
What is your go-to training workout, and why do you enjoy it so much? Has your training emphasis and philosophy changed to make you a more successful eracer?
I like strength efforts on the bike. I have always been doing them, and it is my favorite workout. It also seems that low cadences are effective in esports. So I believe that that has helped with my esports success.
What are your short and long-term esport goals? Do they involve qualifying and competing in the UCI Cycling Esports World Championship? What does that mean to you?
I want to represent Italy again in the coming UCI Cycling Esports World Championship. It is an excellent drive for me and motivation. Of course, I would also like to win or help my team win in the future ZRL.
You have accomplished so much in esports. What is it that sets you apart from other virtual athletes?
I don’t win a lot, but I like to think that my consistency and being always there pay off.
How much do you factor in the gamification side of esports? Is there a learning curve that you must master? How vital are power-ups and other things unique to virtual cycling?
For sure, gamification plays a considerable part in esports. It would help if you learned and practiced so much to master it. PowerUps and knowing the courses are also so important.
Do you feel cycling esports will ever gain acceptance as a trusted discipline and gain popularity as a unique discipline? What challenges does it face?
Yes, and we have already seen this in the World Championship or National Championship among some federations.
Tell us about your setup. Where is it located, and what do you use? What steps do you take to verify your accuracy?
In my office. I use a Wahoo KICKR, 43 inches TV, and a Wahoo Headwind.
The second source is the Quarq on my bike. I double-record every race. And calibrate each time.
Some cynics and detractors don’t trust the legitimacy of esports. What do you say to those who question the integrity and ability for a level playing field between competitors? What challenges does esports face in becoming recognized as a trusted competition venue?
There will always be people that don’t trust the legitimacy of esports.
With the proper transparency in place (like in the Worlds or ZRL), esports is as legitimate as other disciplines.
You are deeply involved in cycling and how it relates to the elite esports scene. How has the landscape changed during that time, and where do you see it going?
Once we have the UCI and Federation support it, I can only see it getting bigger and bigger.
Okay, I need a juicy exclusive. Tell us something about yourself that none of your fellow racers or fans know about you? Please?!?
Maybe I don’t eat meat? Only fish!
The floor is yours! Is there anything you would like to say?
Thank you for inviting me here.
Thank you for sharing, Matteo!
For more interesting insight into the lives and background of other eracing greats check out the Esports page of The ZOM!
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Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!