Tomas Babek is a track sprinter from the Czech Republic, a BLS sponsored athlete, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, and someone who is on the rise fast! In only a short time, he has stamped his authority on the international track circuit, winning the European keirin title, overall sixdays winner as well as being the overall 2016/2017 world cup keirin leader. Not only that, but he’s someone with an incredibly inspirational story of courage, perseverance and survival to tell the world!
With only 2 weeks to go to the world championships in Hong Kong, we thought an exclusive interview with the man that goes by the name of BABSON would be pretty cool!
Tell us how you got into cycling, and specifically track sprinting?
I wanted to avoid the biology exam at primary school so I signed into the school bike race which was at same time (it’s funny because normally I always had A or B at every subject). There I met a guy who brought me to track cycling, the next day he took me to an old concrete velodrome and gave me a fixed bike and told me to ride on it. It was very strange but I liked that, and next month I claimed my first success at international event, so I continued!
Tell us more about your crash in 2011?
I was hit by a car, and nearly died, but doctors brought me back to life. It took me a very long time to get back. I couldn’t get back, and coaches wanted to kick me off the team but I’ve never given up and kept on fighting, and after years I got stronger then before… and claimed my biggest successes.
What would you say has been some of the biggest challenges in cycling for you?
Definitely to find the motivation after I was not selected for Rio 2016, which I proved very well after!
2016 was your breakthrough year, what do you think was the difference that made this year different?
I think the difference was that I went into the race like I want to win it very hard.
How does it feel to be world cup leader going into 2017 world championships?
It feels great and gives me some confidence but we will see J
How is life in the Czech Republic?
The cycling culture is not really the biggest one, especially in track cycling. We don’t have a 250m velodrome, so we train outdoor 400m long one and concrete. Support from national federation … better no comment.
What is a typical day in the life of Tomas Babek like?
Wake up 7:00 and have a nice healthy breakfast, then I’m off to training (track, gym, road), then back for lunch, do some work or study, then coffee and again out for training, after that I do some backlogs from morning, and then finally time with my fiancee J
Do you have any pre-race rituals? Or little things you like to do for good luck?
Yeah it is music, good warm up and deep breathing before every race.
Would you share some of your numbers with us?
Top watts on track bike 2210W
In the gym 105kg for Clean, Deep Squat 170kg
Max candence on velodrome 204rpm, on rollers 247rpm
What is your life like outside of cycling?
I like skiing, study is my hobby too but I just finished my studies and graduated with the Master diploma. So I plan to start with Doctors degree next year.
What do you think of sport psychology?
I use my own, I don’t work much with psychologist, I just found my own way J
What would you say is your biggest mental strength?
Stamina and the “never give up” mode!
Where do you get your motivation from?
From inside of me, I am never satisfied with myself.
What does the future hold for Tomas Babek? I got a contract to Japan for JKA Keirin, but beside it I want to prepare, and get the medal in Tokyo 2020, after I want to finish my career and start as sports manager (this is what I graduated as).
What do you think of the BLS blog?
Well it is always nice to see someone who promotes track cycling!
Do you have any advice for young sprinters?
Just enjoy it, practise much, but always find a joy in it, otherwise you can never become good in it.
Here’s a really cool short film about Tomas’ journey made by VideoDilna.cz, be sure to check it out:
I’m sure all of you will agree, Tomas is a true fighter and inspiration to all riders out there. He doesn’t take no for an answer and gets his motivation from deep within himself. I’m sure all will agree this is only the start of his successful career.
We wish to thank Tomas for giving us a little insight into the life of a champion, and wish him the best of luck for the rest of his journey, from world champs in 2 weeks, to racing keirin in Japan, to Tokyo 2020, to getting his Doctorate degree and of course – getting married!
Be sure to follow the rest of Tomas’ journey on:
Matthew de Freitas