Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini says it’s safer to cycle in the area around Manchester than in Italy.
The 54-year-old, who managed the Premier League club from 2009-13 and is now in charge of the Italian national team, was speaking at an event hosted by the Michele Scarponi Foundation in the late professional cyclist’s home town, Filottrano.
Scarponi was killed there in April 2017 when he was struck by a van driver while he was training for the Giro d’Italia, which he won in 2012 after original winner Alberto Contador was disqualified.
His family subsequently set up a foundation in his name which aims to make the country's roads safer for cyclists.
During a conversation on stage with Davide Cassani, the coach of Italy’s national cycling team, Mancini spoke about his passion for cycling that he inherited from his father, reports Tuttobici, with Felice Gimondi, Francesco Moser and Marco Pantani among his heroes.
But his comments about the relative safety of cycling in Manchester compared to Italy will no doubt cause a few bike riders in the city in north-west England to scratch their heads and wonder if he’s talking about the same place.
Speaking about the safety of cyclists in Italy, he said: “It’s absurd, in 2019, that you go out on your bike and run the risk of not returning home. Something major needs to be done.”
Mancini, who during his time in the hot seat at the Etihad lived in Cheshire’s so-called Golden Triangle, continued: “In England, when I was at Manchester City, I lived 35 kilometres from work and travelled there on my bike.
“Cars overtook me only when the road was free, the drivers moving completely onto the other carriageway.
“And not only that," he continued. "The police in England oblige cyclists to ride side by side to make drivers more aware of their presence and make them exercise more caution.”
He added: “It’s paramount that we act with urgency and decisiveness: more cycle paths, more education, more instruction, and good examples.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.