The 1km TT is undoubtably the toughest event in track cycling, you’ve got to start fast and finish even faster! It’s also one of the events linked with the most controversy, not only about how to train for it or what makes a good kilo rider, but also since it was removed from the Olympic program after 2004, something that has angered and frustrated the track cycling community since.
Quentin Lafargue is the current world champion in this event, and we interview the French rider about his successes, perseverance, his training advise, and his future goals.
How did you get into track cycling?
I began cycling in 2003, and I tried track cycling a year later in 2004 when I was 13 years old. I really liked to practice track cycling because of the speed, and also because I won one race quite early. After one win, you want to win another, and you train more and more, to be better and better!!
How does it feel to be World Champion and wear the rainbow jersey?
It’s unbelievable!! I dreamed of this moment many many times since I wore this jersey as a Junior. It was a very long time! I like this feeling! I can wear this jersey every day for training, and I can’t wait to wear the world champ jersey in competition soon!
(Quentin wore this jersey a week after completing this interview at the French National Champs)
You are part of one of the most successful teams in track cycling, the French Team, how has the set-up and experienced riders helped you to your success?
There is a very big tradition in France of track cycling. I myself have trained with many successful athletes since I was a junior, like Arnaud Tournant, Gregory Baugé, Kevin Sireau, and now with the young generation with Sebastien Vigier, Mathilde Gros, and Rayant Helal.
For me, that is the strength of the French Team! We are many riders, so you have to train very hard to earn your place in this team. It helps me to train my mind and never give up! It’s not always good, but you have to keep training, and if you are serious, maybe once, you’ll get the opportunity to fight for a World Champion title!!
You were junior world champion in Cape Town in 2008, how do you stay motivated to win another title more than 10 years later?
Yes!! It was a very important moment in my career! Between 2008 and 2019, I continued to train and win some medals at the European and World Championships. It helped me to stay motivated every day for 10 years. And now, I know I have title to keep doing that! And I can continue to do that, because there are a lot of goals to come this year!!
What would you say is your best characteristic for success?
I think it’s that I never give up. I have one sentence that I say to myself very often “Works will always pay off one day, you just have to never stop to believing” I trust in my team and I work very hard every day. I think this determination helps me to stayed focused and keep working hard.
What would you say is the most important training technique?
For the 1km TT, the standing start is the most important part. You have to work a lot this part because you need be as efficient as possible. Because after that, you still have 3 and a half laps to go!! So, it’s very important to save as much of your energy as you can, even while going very fast at the same time. The perfect technique will help you to do that.
Tell us what makes you such a good 1km TT rider?
I think I am a resilient sprinter since I was young. I worked hard to stay resilient and to improve my start. After that, you have to learn to master the entire effort. You also need to manage your sprint to be able to finish the last lap as fast as you can! That’s my strategy!
What gear do you normally use?
In track cycling this is secret! My gear is not the same every time and I can’t tell you what is it. Not too big because there is a standing start, and not to small because, you need to have good gear after one lap to accelerate again!
What advice would you give someone training for the 1km TT? What is more important for you, the start of the last lap?
To be a good Kilo rider, you have to work on all parts of the race. But I think the most important is your resilience. And to work on that, it’s not the type of training that sprinters like, it’s lactic training!!
What is a typical day like for Quentin Lafargue?
I train twice a day. I wake me up at 7h30am, I have my breakfast, I go to the velodrome to train at 9h30/10am. I train for 2h or 2h30. After that, I have lunch, a short nap, and then I go to train at 3pm to 6pm again. After that, I go to the ice bath or massage or some recuperation and I can go back home at 7pm.
What are you interests outside of cycling?
Cycling is a big part of my life, I love that. But I like to discover other disciplines. I bought a new bike recently. That’s a Gravel Bike! I love this type of cycling. It’s more Fun and good for my training sometimes. Outside of cycling, I like to relax at home with Laurie Berthon, my girlfriend for 11years.
I am very passionate of sneakers too with my friend Melvin Landerneau! Haha! I buy some limited-edition pairs every year.
Where is your favorite place to train? And what do you like about it?
Saint Quentin en Yvelines is a very good place to train! The Track is amazing! But for the weather, I think Hyères is also a good place to train in France. I think Japan is also a very good place to train! It’s a very nice country. I spoke a lot with Francois Pervis and Mathlide Gros about this place and I hope so much to do the keirin in Japan one day!!
What is next for Quentin Lafargue? What event will you be targeting since the 1km TT is not an Olympic event? And what are your plans for life after cycling?
Next season will be very important to qualify to the Olympic Games. This year, I was in the French team sprint, and we finished 2nd at the World Championships. I will try to continue to be fast in the team sprint this year. In individual event, I like the keirin, and I will try to qualify myself for the Olympics Games in Keirin too.
After Cycling, I don’t know yet what I will do. But I think it will be in cycling as a manager or a coach to try to give my experience to the young riders
From your experience, what advice would you give to junior cyclists?
Believe in yourself and in your dream. Try to surround yourself with the best people you can. The people who will help you to become who you want to be. And work and work again and again!!
Would you mind sharing some of your stats with us?
Best time Kilo: 59”845
Best time 200m: 9”76
Best time 3rd lap TS: 12”863
Please feel free to follow Quentin’s journey to the Olympic Games via his social media accounts:
Interview by: Matthew de Freitas
Co-founder of BLS