Posted : 31/03/2017
How would you describe yourself when the race clock starts?
Determined, concentrated, happy,
And how would you describe yourself off the bike?
Well placed, confident.
Most people know of you as the current Enduro World Champion and as an incredibly successful Enduro athlete, but your early professional career was in world level XC racing. Can you talk us through your highlights of those early years?
Yes it is true that I did XC, I feel it was another life for me :) I was Junior World Champion two times, French Champion Elite, some top 7 in the World Cup and on one World Championship Elite XCO and some podiums in World Cup XCE.
You also had considerable success in XCE racing. With this back on the World Cup calendar, are you tempted to compete in the discipline again?
I think I do not want to be in direct confrontation with the contender and especially I take so much fun to ride enduro that I do not want to do anything else, at the limit try the downhill ; )
Following your XC and XCE racing successes, what was it that made you switch to racing Enduro full time?
I did the tour of my discipline, I no longer had fun, I needed more sensation, to make adrenaline.
Onto the EWS, what a year 2016 was! Seven wins from eight EWS rounds and stage wins by consistently big margins. How did you prepare for the season that gave you so much success?
The enduro is a difficult discipline in terms of training, the days of races are long so we need endurance, the special times are short we need to be explosive, in addition to the technical side. It took a good mix to work all that. There is a lot of work on the equipment too, having the right position, the suspension settings ...
And what was the standout highlight race of the 2016 EWS and why?
The highlight of the season is always Whistler, for the spot, the atmosphere.
Going into the 2017 season, as the current champion, what preparation have you done in the build-up? Has this been any different to previous years?
I have a more ride my bike for fun enduro this winter, to try to play a little more my bike, so I had a little less time for physical work.
What a start to the season, you’ve had, taking such a convincing win at EWS#1. The conditions looked horrendous! Can you talk us through your race and tell us how you managed to ride so consistently fast, in conditions that left others struggling?
I was well on my bike in confidence and I found the funny conditions to ride, so I enjoyed myself.
The team made the switch to Renthal handlebars, stems and grips for 2017. Can you tell us about the Renthal set-up you are using?
Yes I have the luck with Renthal to have many choices on stem sizes, different handlebar wider, different thickness of grip, so I did a lot of test days to find the best fitting for my steering post. Before riding Renthal I never imagined that the stem and the handlebars could play such an important role in skill. I ride a Fatbar Lite 35 760mm with 20mm of rise, Apex 35 stem of 33mm and Ultra Tacky grips.
And finally, what advice would you give to people getting into the sport of Enduro?
To have really good material, good position on the bike and take pleasure.