Cyclist Pedro Delgado is one of the finest sportsmen our country has produced. We all remember his uphill climbs during tough mountain stages in Tourmalet and other French, Italian and Spanish summits - it exhausted us just to see the effort Perico was making.
Last years the Fundación organized the Tour del Jamón Serrano with Spanish school children to teach them the basis of a good diet. What do you think of this initiative?
Everything about pig is good. Everything can be eaten, and of course the favorite part, and the part everyone loves is ham, so I think it's great to have a "ham culture". I, along with many others, have always felt that if Spaniards were a little more cunning and we had known how to sell Serrano ham like the French did with champagne and foie, it would now be sold as a gourmet food item, as well it is, but on a much larger scale. It is good for children to learn these things and discover our culture. It is also a good habit to eat a little ham whenever you have the chance.
What is in the cyclist's provisions bag?
Well, it's changed since I was riding. In the past it was sandwiches (ham, but not too cured) that you finished off in two or three bites, fruit, like a banana or a pear, and a little water. Now there are many prepared, high-energy food products.
But was there Serrano ham in the bag?
Not really. Serrano ham was, and still is, in the team directors' car because cyclists need to eat more quickly.
Do you consider it a good food for cyclists?
Serrano ham has always been part of the cyclist's diet. It is a custom we continue to uphold. After the day's stage there is usually a little Serrano ham at dinner, especially when we are in Spain. It is like a luxury item. When you win, there is Serrano ham, although it is also included on other occasions if the cyclists are tired of always eating the same thing - just to vary our diet and encourage us.
In Spain it has been shown that there is an increase in childhood obesity. Do you think this is due to poor eating habits or a sedentary lifestyle?
Both, I think. With our new lifestyle in which both the mother and father work outside the home, at times a child's diet is not properly cared for, and it can easily be high in fat. And even though people are doing more sport, it is difficult to do in large cities. Now the sport children do is limited almost exclusively to school. When I was young we played soccer or handball or whatever out in the street and you ended up running around, but it's not like that anymore.