“I’ve won the most important race of my life, I’ve been thinking about this medal for four years. That’s why I cried so much. I’ve worked so much for this but also suffered a lot of disappointment. I had to work to get over it all but now it’s been worth it all.
It's true that even a silver or bronze medal have to be considered a success but I wanted the gold. I've put a lot into this and I think I deserve it because I always believed I could do it. I've got to thank the Italian national coach Marco Villa and the group of young riders in the team: my improvement in the pursuit is thanks to them and especially (world champion) Ganna. I've also got to thank my family and my partner Elena [Cecchini], who always helps me stay calm even in moments of panic like before the final points race.
It was a shock because you never know what can happen in a crash. I saw that my bike was okay and so I took a lap to see how I felt. I remembered that I was leading the omnium and that I couldn't give up, so I suddenly had extra adrenaline. When I won the sprint with 20 laps to go, I knew they couldn't beat me and so I savoured the final 10 laps.
It's not Cavendish's fault. The Korean guy was halfway on his wheel to the right, whereas normally you stay on the wheel. Cav was in front and changed direction. For sure it was a bad moment in the race but it's a normal crash on the track.
I lost the world title by half a wheel and if I'd done the time I did here in London, I'd have another gold medal. I think this success marks the end of a chapter in my career. I'll race on the track but now I've go to think about other goals. But heading back to road racing with this gold medal around my neck is the best thing that could have happened."