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November 2018

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros. Photo: Drew Kaplan

Interview: French star, Mathilde GROS

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We interview young French sensation and Junior world champion, Mathilde GROS, about her career, goals for the future, and life outside of cycling.

 

When and how did you start cycling, and especially track sprinting?
I began cycling in September 2014, but I couldn’t really train until March 2015 because I had lots of little crashes when I began, and I was really scared after that to go on the track again.  Before I played basketball and I wanted to become a professional basketball player.  I was in gym for basketball, and the BMX riders of France were at the same time as me at the centre, so for fun my coach of basketball said that I should go on the WattBike, and I did a sprint and I had really good results!

 

What do you enjoy most about cycling?
I love share moments with my family.  In sprinting I really like the speed, but also the duel against someone, and also the duel against oneself!  I like the respect and values of this sport.

 

You were junior World champion last year, how was that experience?
It was an incredible experience, the better experience as a junior in my life.

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros. Photo: Drew Kaplan

You are the new sensation of track cycling and already winning medals in the elite ranks, how are you finding the experience?
It was an experience really rich for learning.  I learnt a lot.  I met lots of the best riders in cycling.  It was a really good for me!

 

You and many other young sprinters are a part of the French cycling academy for Tokyo 2020 to take on the British, how do you feel about the French chances?
I don’t know the chance of it.  I just know that I want to be one of the best riders (like a lots of other riders) and I will give the best I can to take medals at the Olympics games.

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros. Photo: Drew Kaplan

You come from the birth place of cycling, France, has that inspired you at all?
Yes I was really inspired by this country.  When I started cycling I met lots of famous riders like Florian ROUSSEAU and also Felicia BALLANGER.  They gave me lots of tips on lots of things!

 

You also went to race in the Japanese professional keirin, how was that?
I am so lucky to went to Japan last year.  It was so incredible for me.  I couldn’t believe that the JKA took me for this year, I was young at just 18 years old! It was the best experience of my life!  I met lots of people, and I made lots of friends.  I didn’t know so much the elite riders because I was a junior one year ago, so this experience was really great for me to meet riders like Stephanie MORTON, Natasha HANSEN, Laurine VANRIESSEN, Nicky DEGRENDELE and the boys …. It was so cool!!!!!!  I loved the experience, it was unbelievable!!

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros.

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros.

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros.

Tell us something that we wouldn’t know about you?
I love to share moments of happiness with my loved ones, and I am someone who smiles all the time!

 

What are your interests outside of cycling?
I like go out shopping with friends or my sister and my mum.  I like visit monuments and travel the world.  I also continued my school so later I can teach teenagers in high school.

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros.

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros.

What is a typical training day for you?
I wake up at 7h50, have breakfast at 8h and after that gym at 9h30 and finish at 11h.  After lunch at 12h, a little nap (really important for me, ha ha, only 25 minutes!).  Training on the track is from 15h00 to 18h30, and after that dinner at 19h.  After that I work my courses of my school because i have big exams twice a year.  And to finish my day, I sleep at 22h30!

 

Are you excited for the Olympics to come to Paris in 2024?
Yes I am very excited for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris!  We are so lucky to have the Olympic in our country!  Already, not many athletes have the chance to go to the Olympics, but even less to do them in their own country!  Just imagine!  In front of your family, your friends…  I hope it will be so cool!

 

What are you goals for the future?
In the future I will give the best I can to become the best rider, and become Olympic champion, it’s my dream and my goal!

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros.

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros.

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros.

BLS interview with French track cyclist Mathilde Gros.

What advice do you have for junior riders looking up to you?
Believe in yourself, and work, work, work…  Always remembering why you do this, to stay focused if it’s hard, and to continue.

I want just say thank you to my coach for all, and because he believes in me.
Thank you of my family who support me and come almost everywhere to support me during a big race.
Thank you of the best mechanic also 😉

I want say to Kristina Vogel that she is a beautiful person and really strong girl!  Thanks a lot for your beautiful video for me!

Cycling has allowed me to meet with lots of athletes!  And I can live a life with beautiful moments!

Thank you a lot for your support BLS 😉

 

Interview by: Matthew de Freitas
Co-founder of BLS

BLS luggage tag to personalize your VeloRacing cycling bag

New BLS Luggage Tags now available

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The new rubber BLS Luggage Tags were made to personalize your VeloRacing Bag.

Claim your bag now, whether at a race, amoungst family and friends, or while travelling.

Available in the 3 colour BLS logo, or in grey, to match your bag or personal taste.

Available for US$100 or R100, only with the purchase of any other BLS product

BLS luggage tag to personalize your VeloRacing cycling bag

BLS luggage tag to personalize your VeloRacing cycling bag

Buy now International

Buy now South Africa 

 

BLS luggage tag to personalize your VeloRacing cycling bag

BLS luggage tag to personalize your VeloRacing cycling bag

Keirin world champion Nicky Degrendele

Interview: Keirin World Champion – Nicky Degrendele

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We interview young star of the keirin, current World Champion Nicky Degrendele from Belgium.

As Six Days kicks off in Ghent, Belgium this week – it makes perfect sense!

You are so young, yet already so successful; when and how did you start?
I started on track at the end of 2011.  I had done 2 races on the road earlier that year.  In my first race girls crashed in front of me and so I crashed as well, breaking my elbow; resulting in me never doing road racing again!  Track on the other hand, I did like.  In October I started training with some kind of “learning how to ride the track” group and only 3 months later I became u/17 Belgian champion in the sprint -> that was the start of my career.  Then I got invited to train with the national junior team and started doing European sprint and keirin races.  It all went very fast!

 

You broke through straight into the elite ranks, what has been your secret to success?
There’s not really a secret to success, I just did my own thing.  My first year as an elite was really hard and there was a brief moment I thought of stopping because I wasn’t winning.  In December of 2015, the Belgian federation and I made the decision to work towards a bigger and better goal, and they sent me off to the WCC in Switzerland for me to grow as a rider again.

Keirin world champion Nicky Degrendele, by Drew Kaplan

How does it feel to be world champion?
I had a very hard time believing that I was actually the world champion.  It is something you work towards but what do you do when you become a world champion?  I took me a while but I do know that I want to be on that top step again and I want to wear the jersey longer!  For now, I’m enjoying it, and not pressuring myself in to anything yet.

 

You come from the mecca of cycling and home to some of the greatest cyclist of all time, Belgium, What is track sprinting like there?
Track sprinting is completely the opposite end to road cycling based on popularity.  We had a few good sprinters a long time ago, and it may have been a bit more popular then, but sadly the attention hasn’t been as big for track as it is for the road.  The current track group, myself included, are doing a great job trying to get more attention to track.  For example: Jolien D’hoore’s Olympic bronze medal, and last year’s world title in Madison with Lotte Kopecky,  Kenny Deketele and Robbe Ghys with their European Madison title, and me with the Keirin world title all have helped.

Keirin world champion Nicky Degrendele, by Drew Kaplan

Keirin world champion Nicky Degrendele, by Drew Kaplan

Are there any young sprinters coming through the ranks who could join you for the team sprint in 2020?
I think that for the 2020 Olympics it’s best for me to focus just on sprint and Keirin as I am the only woman on track in my country.  If there is a potential rider then there is a possibility we can work towards 2024 Paris Olympics.

 

Your favourite event is the keirin, why do you like it so much?
Keirin requires speed, skill, tactics and guts.  I love everything about it.  There’s not really a specific reason, I just love it!

Keirin world champion Nicky Degrendele, by Drew Kaplan

You also spent some time racing the Japanese professional keirin, how was that?
Japan was a great experience.  Looking back I had a fantastic time.  I met a lot of great people, got to know a whole different culture and got to race keirins.  The country was amazing and beautiful, a lot different to Belgium.  It wasn’t only good as an athlete, but also as a person.  Being away from home for that long was a challenge because it’s not just a 10 hour drive with the car to go home if you miss your family, it’s the other side of the planet so you can’t just go back and forth for a little visit. Looking back now I wish I enjoyed it even more with less distraction!  If I’d have the opportunity to go back, I definitely would!

 

Tell us something that we wouldn’t know about you?
I’m very much of a family person, I love to be around people and to get to know new people yet I can also be by myself for a while, and I love to discover new places.  I’m currently in Gstaad, Switzerland having a coffee & answering this email!  You can definitely find me at the ocean, a pool or a lake in summer.  If I could I’d go snowboarding every winter.  I’m an animal lover, that awkward person that will always pet the dogs first before introducing myself to someone.  When I’m struggling with something I prefer to go walking by the ocean with the dogs or I call my mum, my sister or my bestfriends.

 

Where do you get your motivation from:
My motivation comes from what I have achieved in the past few years of racing.  To me it means there is so much more for me to accomplish and that I want to do it.  I love racing, I love the focus of it and the feeling it gives me.  That moment on the start line of “now is the moment to bring what  you have been training for!”

 

What is a typical training day for you?
It may vary to what training is on schedule that day.  I usually have my first alarm at about 7am to eventually get out of bed at 7:30am or 7:45am, I’m a snoozer & I can’t help it!  I have breakfast in my room or at the WCC at 8am.  Gym training starts at 9:30am to 11am or 11:30am, and lunch at 12. Then there’s time for a little sit down after lunch, mainly movie time or catch up with family.  Roller warm up and track session starts from 2pm to 5pm, dinner at 6pm and then I’m off after that.

Keirin world champion Nicky Degrendele, by Drew Kaplan

Keirin world champion Nicky Degrendele, by Drew Kaplan

What are your goals for the future?
It’s obvious that I want to be ready by worlds to defend my rainbow stripes “stripey” jersey.  That’s the main goal for this season!  Then it’s to Tokyo 2020.

 

What are your plans leading up to your defence of your title next year, and towards Tokyo 2020?
The next 4 World cups are on my program.  Basically it will be training, training and training!!

 

Do you have any advice for other sprinters out there?
I would say to enjoy it!  If it makes you happy and you enjoy it, keep doing it as long as you’re able to.

 

Interview by Matthew de Freitas
Co-founder and director at BLS

 

 

#BLScompetition

WIN BIG with BLS!!

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This November, we are running 2 competitions that are BIGGER than EVER!

Win a cycling specific race day bag, that will change the way your prepare forever.

International competition:

#BLScompetition

#BLScompetition

Win a TIWIA Leather VeloRacing Bag valued at US$750 delivered to your door!  This is a premium leather cycling specific race day bag with individual compartments for all your kit, handcrafted in Cape Town using locally and ethically sourced leather.  This may be the best cycling bag ever made!

To enter: click here

 

South Africa Competition:

BLS Velo Racing cycling kit bag camo

BLS Velo Racing cycling kit bag camo

Win a BLS VeloRacing Bag – CAMO vfilled with surprise goodies valued at over R1649.  This is a cycling specific race day bag with compartments for all your kit, handmade in Cape Town.

To enter: click here 

 

Enter now, and GOOD LUCK!!

 

 

WIN with BLS and TCA

WIN in November – with BLS and TCA

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We’ve once again joined forces with our friends at the Track Cycling Academy, and this November, you could stand a chance to win a BLS Personalized Velodrome Bag and access to the TCA inner circle program – all valued at over US$500!!

To enter, simply click on the link below to complete a quick survey.

 

Share it on Facebook and Instagram to increase your chances!!

 

The winner will be announced on the 1st of December, and the prize delivered shortly after.

 

ENTER NOW!!

 

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