Super-Entrevista a Benito Ros, final de temporada.
La Super Interview de la Bestia après son 9ème sacre mondial

An Interview Benito Ros after his ninth World Championship win

Thursday 18 October 2012
by Ben Swales
popularity : 5%

JPEG - 11.6 kb Benito Ros spoke to us not long after being crowned World Champion for the ninth time in what was an open and interesting interview, carried out by Abel Mustieles and Marco Patrizi. This season saw the Koxx rider miss out on his sixth World Cup victory, just losing to the rider who has gone from being his protégé to his biggest rival, Abel Mustieles. We talked about their relationship, which now seems much more tense. We also spoke about Gilles, Vince, his new Sky, K-124 Days and much more.

Photos by Marco Patrizi, Mathias Lambrecht, Ian Wassmann.

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Tribal Interview

Hi Benito! First of all, congratulations on your ninth World title! Another year, another rainbow jersey. Was this one more important than the rest, since you weren’t the favourite this year?

Thank you. No, for me they’re all as important as each other. Last year there was stuff going on as well… there’s no such thing as an easy World Championship. Sure, I can remember some that went well from the start, those that I had more control over and in which I was much calmer, but there are unexpected events in all of them, there’s always something to deal with, something that affects your ride. I can only remember one that could be called ’easy’ - the on ein 2005, where I started well and ended well. I could tell you hundreds of things that were difficult about the rest though.

People have talked a lot about Abel’s mechanical problems, but you had a fantastic ride either way. Tell us about how it went for you.

And what do they want me to do? Give him the title? I’m not having a go, I just don’t know what they expect. I know he had bad luck, the same thing happened to me in Japan, where I broke a brake. There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s normal that he says what he’s saying and that he’s hurting. Everyone tells it the way they see it. Everyone chooses their own bike, their own brakes - those are the cards you play with. It’s really bad luck, for sure, but that’s trials, that’s competition. You can complain all you want. I’m happy with how the Worlds went for me. I had things go wrong as well, but that’s the way it is. You have to give it your all right to the last section and see who wins. There are no second chances. I’m speaking generally - you have to deal with everything that happens in the trial. I’m sure that none of us, not Vincent, not Abel, not me, are completely satisified with how our competition went. We all made ’x’ mistakes, but that’s how it goes. We can’t go round afterwards saying that there would have been five points less because of this or that. In the end, it’s the most consistent rider, the rider who makes the least mistakes that wins, and that’s that.

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JPEG - 145.2 kb OK. Tell us about the Semi-Final

I started the Semi-Final badly, I can tell you. There were three of us walking the first section, but none of us saw the second gate, so I started with a five for a missed gate. My first section, my first five. After that, bit by bit, I improved and started to get through the sections. I only had one problem, with the same observer as in the final, where we argued about a five, but you know... The truth is that in the end it was only the Semi Final, so it didn’t matter too much. I rode well everywhere else, so it was all good. I used two tactical dabs. One on a sidehop that was my wrong way and the other on a balance line on the logs - as I was doing OK points-wise, I didn’t bother going for it and used a dab. I can’t remember exactly how many points I got in the end. Last year I had to go out ahead of Dani and Abel in the Final. This year I wanted to go out after Abel, so I hung back a bit to see what I needed to do to finish in first place to make sure I did. It seemed like a long Semi Final to me, we’re used to two laps and had to ride three this time. It was alright in the end though.

And the final?

It was a bit different - the sections were weirdly set out and there were some strange moves. As well as that it was held at night and the only area we had to warm up was the rock section from the final, on a muddy bank, with no lights apart from the headlights from a few cars. I went into the town and trained like mad on the walls there. I started off confidently and motivated. The first two sections went more or less as planned, although I picked up two points for clipping my pedal. That was when I realised that with such tight, twisty sections, that was where most of the points would come from. In section three (the trains) I went for the big move and the observer game me a very strict five, meaning things were pretty tight. In section four (Motorex) I picked up my only five that was down to riding badly - I couldn’t get past the rollers at the start of the section. That made things even more complicated. JPEG - 133.5 kb Sections five and six went quite well, just one more dab than planned. From then on I knew I could make the competition harder for the others - even with those mistakes I was in first place - but I would have to do better on the second lap. I bit of a disaster in the first section saw me take a three, compared to the one on the first lap. Section two saw the tensest moment of the whole trial, when I was given a five for crossing the tape which I didn’t agree with - I didn’t think the observer could see from where he was whether I’d crossed it or not. I tried to reason with him but his pride was too much for him to admit his mistake in front of so many people. I wasn’t in the centre of the rock and went to one side, where there were no red flags or anything and I thought you could get through. The observer saw me doing something that the others hadn’t and gave me a five. He told me that I’d crossed the tape, but I was telling him that it was impossible as if I had followed the trajectory he was saying I had, I would have come off on landing. I’ve seen a video of it, but you can’t really see that well because of where it’s filmed from, but you can see that the observer that raises his hand can’t see what happens as he’s on the other side of the rock. To give someone a five like that shows the inexperience of the observer. In addition to that, it looks like the other observer, who could see from where he was and should, in theory, have been the one who gave me the five, looks at the other observer to see what was going on. But there was no reasoning with him, so that was that. The only thing I could do was get on with things and look ahead at the rest of the trial; take no more risks. I dabbed up the complicated move in the train section and got through for a one. I tried the rollers again and managed to get through - I was the only one to clean that section. Two sections left and I was starting to get tired... Things were getting close and I knew I had to really go for it. I got through the first difficult move in section five clean, but lost my balance on the second move and picked up two points. Before going into the last section I saw that Abel had dropped a one in section five, so I knew that I only needed to get through on a four and I would be World Champion. On the first lap, I’d got through on a one and it didn’t seem that difficult. But this time, as I dabbed up one of the pipes, I lost my balance and fell off. I was so disappointed - the final could have been lost at that moment. But to beat me, Abel needed to clean the section, which wasn’t easy. In the end, he dropped for, so the moment I’d been hoping for arrived and I was able to celebrate my ninth world title!

Abel complained that the final was marked for left-footers, especially in the semi. What do you think about that?

Yes, some moves seemed to be easier for left-footers, but that’s the way it is. I can remember plenty of World Championships where things were set for right-footers too. It happens. Some of the moves were really hard for right-footers as well. And to tell the truth, I can’t think of a single move that only a left-footer could get through, neither in the Semi-Final, nor in the Final. It was a bit harder for them, but not impossible. If they were good enough, they could get through with no problems.

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JPEG - 219.2 kb You were using a renewed and fine-tuned Sky, what did you change on the bike?

Let’s just say that my ’special’ bikes come from my imagination and take hours of work by both of us to make them a reality. It’s sometimes quite complicated, but Juan is a big help. Thanks Juan! With each bike that we do, we try to go further, with more details, more work... and in the end, this bike is better and lighter than my old one. We got it down to 6.85kg using competition parts, and it’s still a completely useable bike. What really sets this one apart is the frame, which is a prototype of the new Sky, and the brakes, which are my own invention. It’s also the first time that I’ve cut some knobbles off the tyres. I never used to do it for competition, but I’ve found a way to do it so that they are lighter but just as grippy. And then there’s the endless fiddling with details - filing, polishing, cutting, adjusting, looking for new parts...

After the Worlds, you had the final round of the World Cup left. Tell us how that went. It must have been a pretty exciting and emotional trial?

Yeah, it was a really nice final. Before I go on, I want to remind you that, as many people know, I started the season still injured and not at my best, so my results suffered. So I needed to ride perfectly in this round. I knew that. The three of us got to the last section on pretty much equal points. Whoever did the best in that section would win the cup. In my case, I would either win or come third. JPEG - 84.7 kb It was a really cool trial - no one knew who had won until the last section. Abel was last out in the Super Final as he’d done better in the Final. So I started out with a bit of a disadvantage, but it went quite well, as it had for the rest of the season. I got a one in the first section - which was as good as cleaning it, as there was a move that none of us had managed to do. I cleaned the next two sections. In the last section, which I had cleaned in the Final, they had only changed one move. I managed it, but I had to have a few goes at it. It was a sidehop up a trunk and you had to keep your balance on the top. I had to have a few goes, like I said, and I lost 20 valuable seconds. I rushed to the end of the section, dropped off a step and, stupidly, my foot slipped off the pedal and brushed the ground. They gave me a one for that, another for being two seconds over the time and a half for being eight seconds over time for the whole trial. If it hadn’t been for those 20 seconds wasted on that sidehop... I ended up with two and a half points because of that. It’s obvious that the five in the final is what cost me, but those 20 seconds cost me as well. But that’s how it goes in competition. I know Abel had a problem in section one as well. That’s trials. I’m happy that I had a good competition though. After everything that’s been said about the Worlds, people seem to think that I did nothing in the Final and that I don’t deserve the title... here I think I gave a good account of myself and showed that I know something about riding a bike.

They don’t just give away world titles, and it’s obvious that to even be there you have to be of a certain level.

Exactly. Even if Abel hadn’t had his problems and had been able to win, I would still have been second. That’s still a great achievement, no? I’m happy to have won, but to even be in the final is testament to your ability. I’m happy that, after a complicated start to the year, I’ve attained a high level again and have been in all of the Finals and Super Finals. They ended up being decided on two or three points, which is nothing. There was only one where the difference between us was large, and I won that one. But if you look at the results for the rest of them, the difference between the top three is minimal. We’ve all ridden really well. The only one who went off the boil a bit towards the end of the season is Vincent. I don’t think it’s down to a lack of skill - he’s got plenty - but managing under the pressure of competition isn’t easy.

I was going to ask you about that. Do you think that Vincent won the rounds that he did because neither you nor Abel were at the top of your games? When you were both back on form, he couldn’t beat you. Do you think that means that you’re better than him, or is it down to psychological factors like you say?

JPEG - 131.9 kb I’ve seen him training, I don’t think he’s any worse than Abel or me. I saw him take a couple of fives in competition that weren’t down to lack of skill. Maybe lack of concentration, pressure, who knows? I’m just calling it how I see it. I definitely got better as the season went on, but then I’m sure Vince did too. He’s got a lot of skills and when he’s properly adapted to the smaller wheels he’ll be even better. He was still in the lead for the last round of the World Cup, so he’s already good! I didn’t think that he’d do that well so quickly; he’s surprised all of us this season. We’re used to seeing him at the top, but he’s relatively new to 20", and it’s not easy! He just lost it a bit in the last two rounds, and once that happens, whether to him or to anyone else, you start to lose your confidence or your rhythm. I was surprises at how well he rode this season. I’m not saying that we’re better than him. He’s as good as either of us. But it’s one thing being good and it’s another being good in competition. Training is different. In competition, you only have one chance and it’s difficult to make it count. Anyway, congratulations Vince! It was great riding against you - I’m looking forward to doing it again!

Let’s talk about the Spanish Championship and your knee injury. You weren’t at 100% and didn’t know how you would perform this year, and then you won the national and world titles. How would you evaluate your season?

For me, I more than achieved my goals. I was conscious that it would be difficult, and like I told you at the Spanish Championship, my main goal was the World Championship. Knowing that I wasn’t at 100%, I had to chose one to concentrate on, so winning both is a huge satisfaction.

JPEG - 120.2 kb You mentioned earlier about second place still being good... With the level at which the three of you are riding, it seems that anything but a victory or a podium is seen as a loss. Does that bother you?

Yes, it bothers me. Whether it’s me, or someone else, I don’t like it that second or third place is devalued, by the public or by the riders. And not just the podium either, Look at Ion or Rick or Kazuki, who were all there in the Finals and the Super Finals. It’s really difficult to achieve that and they all deserve respect. It takes a lot of work to be that good, and it’s not repaid. We work and train as if our lives depended on it and if we don’t get on the podium, it’s practically for nothing. I’ve been at the top for a long time now, and I hope to still be there for a while longer. I’ve got my way of competing, and it seems to be working for me. We may have got the medals and the recognition, but everyone deserves respect for what they’ve achieved.

What about you? do you think you’ll ever make the move to 26"? And what about if/when your abilities start to fade a bit; will you keep competing, or are you one of those people who are incapable of competing just for fun?

I just want to have fun on my bike, but I’m really scared that that will stop one day. When you work really hard at something, it’s doubly satisfying when it pays off. You’re training hard, riding a lot, competing and when you win, it’s an enormous satisfaction. I’m scared that I won’t know what to do if I can’t go out training and come back happy, knowing I’ve got a bit better. I’m scared that my life will feel empty without that rush. I always say to my minder Andoni that if that happens, I’ll move to a 26" and see how it goes. But for the moment, while I still can, I want to keep pushing things in 20". When I can’t do that, I’ll move over 26". I think that it’s a bit easier for riding at a lower level, a bit smoother. While I’m still competitive, I’m going to stick at it! As for competing with a 26", now that my knee’s on the mend and I’ve got the right people working on it, I’m going to try it out and see how it goes. We’ll see how I’m feeling when the worlds come around. I’ll always prefer 20" though, whatever happens.

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JPEG - 486.8 kb Now that this year’s practically over, what are your hopes for next year?

For me, if it goes as well as this year I’ll be happy. If my knee improves and my riding keeps getting better, it could be an even better year, but if I do as well as this year, that’ll be a big achievement. But my aim is the same as ever - to do as well as I can.

Will Koxx be bringing out anything revolutionary?

I don’t think so, other than the new Sky that I’m riding and the stuff that you saw at K-124 Days.

Do you think that K-124 Days has lost some of its appeal moving from Paris and losing the street session etc.?

Yeah, it’s changed a lot. It’s a shame that it’s focussing more and more on competition, which is where you have the least fun. Before, I used to go for fun, now it’s just another competition. It’s like a World Cup; you’re tense the day before, you’re under pressure... I remember starting the competition stuff from the Paris street ride, or from riding Buthiers all day everyday beforehand. I’d have enjoyed myself so much that I was worn out for the competition, but I didn’t mind coming last.

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We agree - they’ve certainly lost something since moving away from Buthiers. It was always brilliant seeing you all riding street and then competing the next day...

Yeah. It was pretty cool, we were all friends, rising and training together... there were people that went to Paris to ride street and other people that stayed to ride on the rocks. There were always cool videos of the Paris street rides afterwards too... The competition side of things has improved, but the rest... well, there is no rest. I don’t know if that was their intention, or if it just happened that way, but it’s s shame. I don’t know whether it’s because the organisers focused more and more on the competition side of things and the rest just took a back seat, or what, but with no one organising the street rides, it’s kind of been forgotten about. At any rate, there weren’t LOADS of people that went, but those that did always had a good time. The days leading up to it were always pretty good too, with 30 or 40 of us turning up early and riding. Maybe they wantyed to stop that as well. But that was always the most fun part of it for me.

JPEG - 156.4 kb Everyone’s moving to HS33 now, but you, who always rode with HS33s before, are staying with discs. Why’s that?

Well, there’s no point in giving up a brake that has so much power. I know that it has its disadvantages, like weight and the danger of hitting the rotor, but I’ve lightened the bike elsewhere and have been working on my strength, so the weight doesn’t matter, and I don’t really hit the rotor much at all. Pues a ver, yo no voy a renunciar a un freno que tiene una potencia increíble. I know that for left footers it makes more of a difference, but in competition there aren’t that many sidehops onto straight edges where you might land on the rotor. Apart from that, when a disc is working well, there’s nothing like it.

I guess it depends on the type of trial. UCI sections these days seem to be more on/off?

Maybe, yeah. Running discs has done me a lot of good. I used to have quite a grabby style and they’ve made me much smoother. I can do on/off braking with a disc, as well as being a bit smoother, so it doesn’t matter what type of section it is - disc works for me! When you land right, a disc just holds. An HS33 has to be set up perfectly, or it doesn’t work.

Back to 26” for a minute - what do you think of Gilles’ season? He’s dominated every event hasn’t he?

Yes he has. But in comparison with 20”, if it wasn’t for Vincent and Abel, it would be the same. Gilles is a machine, obviously. But there’s no comparison with 20”. 20” and 26” are completely different. There’s no denying that Gilles knows how to compete better than anyone. I don’t look at how how he can go or how far, I watch how he competes. He’s the king. What’s been missing this year though is Kenny and Vincent. They may not be as good as him, but they’d have made him work a bit harder for it. He deserves his victories, for sure. All the more so because he’s kept improving and competing even without a real challenger, and that’s very difficult to do.

JPEG - 149.6 kb Maybe he’ll get bored and try 20” as well. That would be a competition, with the four of you in the same category!

It’s funny you should say that – Gilles said something like that to me three years ago. You have to do what feels natural, and for him that’s 26” and for me it’s 20”. He likes to try 20” from time to time, and he has done. He was pretty good, like I was on a 26”, but to get the best out of ourselves, we have to be on our own bikes. I might try 26” if I lose my motivation on the 20”. But for him it’s different I think. Even if he doesn’t train for three weeks, he’ll keep winning. I think he deserves to as well - he’s found a way to stay motivated in a very difficult situation. I think he’s rooted in 26” and I doubt that he’ll give that up.

Do you think that someone who goes from 26” to 20” can be as competitive as someone who does it the other way round?

Well, Vincent surprised everyone. Before, I would have said that it was easier to go from 20” to 26”, but not now. Gilles showed that it could be done, and this year Vincent’s showed us that it can be done well. Maybe it’s the same either way. I think that it’s the rider that makes the difference. The top three or four riders in each category would be in the top three or four whether they rode 20" or 26". With people like Gilles or me it’s a bit harder because you’re so used to your own bike, but the way we train and compete, professionally, means that we’ll do well in whichever category.

There was a bit of debate online about the transmission of the Belgian rounds. What do you think of the fact that they only showed 26"

It was Kenny that organised it, so he was bound to do what he was most interested in. I don’t think, given that they already had the cameras and equipment there, that it would have been much more trouble to film the 20” competition as well, even if it was only to put up on trials websites. You feel a bit frustrated when you’re about to start your final and you see them packing there cameras away. You feel a bit like a sideshow. I think it would be good, even if you’re not going to transmit it, to at least film the 20” competition. I think the trials world would like to see it.

JPEG - 153.3 kb How’s you knee now the season’s finished? Do you think it’ll fully recover?

That’s the idea. But if Rafa Nadal hasn’t recovered fully from the same problem, I don’t know if I will. The person who’s dealing with it now is a former physio of mine who’s set up a private business. He’s sorted out a tendonitis for me before, so maybe he can help with this. They told me that if I committed to a full recover it might happen. Commitment isn’t something I’m lacking, so we’ll see.

In the past, Abel was, to put it a certain way, a student of yours. Now that he’s riding for a different brand and is in direct competition with you, do you think that your relationship has changed?

Abel and I spent a lot of time together. We had some good times and got on well. That’s how I like things to be. It seems that, now at least, that’s not how he wants it to be. Each to their own, I guess. The excuses that he gives are just that, excuses. So now the relationship is one of mutual respect. The natural logic of things is that one day he’ll beat me. It won’t be a surprise when it happens, but I’ll keep fighting for as long as I can As you know, this has been a difficult year for me, and yet I managed to win the most prestigious title. I hope to be able to give my best next year as well.

Trials is an individual sport, but behind the great champions there is always a team of people. Who are the people behind the great Benito Ros?

They’re my friends first and my team second. I like and trust them all. Through this sport I’ve got to know people with whom I’ve developed great relationships. They’ve helped me to be at my best for whatever competition was coming up. Some of the most important people in my career have been the Patrizi family, who have been a huge support both in and out of competition. Thanks guys! Then there’s my old friend Andoni, who knows me best. He’s been a huge help. And of course, Mariam, who’s always there for me, whatever. And finally, I’d like to thank everyone who’s shown their support, in person, over the phone, by email or on Facebook. It’s been a huge help and has pushed me to keep going. THANK YOU

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Your town is behind you as well, no? You’ve got a street named after you there haven’t you? That must be amazing!

Of course, being part of the history of my hometown is a great honour for me. They named the street just two days after I won the World Championship, so it was like a double celebration. I’m so grateful that they’ve honoured my long and successful career in such a way. It means a lot.

JPEG - 464.4 kb Tell us something about yourself to finish off. Now that the season is over, what will you do with your free time?

I like motorbikes. I’ve got two, but one’s broken. Over the winter I normally like to go for a week’s skiing, but I haven’t been able to lately because of my knee. I’ve been getting into mountain biking a bit too.

And what about books, films and music?

I’m not reading anything at the moment. As for films, I like anything that makes me laugh. Music, I usually just listen to the radio, but to have a good time I listen to techno or electronica...

OK. Thanks for your time and you sincerity. It’s been a pleasure talking to you. All the best for 2013!

Thanks for your support!

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14 septembre 2017 - CIRO Trial 2017 : le VCS Betton vous attend dimanche 17 !

L’équipe de bénévoles du Vélo Club Sportif de Betton s’est mise en marche pour tracer le trial de Betton et vous attend de pied (...)

26 août 2017 - Programme d’Albertville 2017, finales en live sur le channel UCI !

Voici le programme complet de la 4ème étape de la Coupe du Monde UCI Trial 2017, qui investit pour la troisième année consécutive Albertville et (...)

22 juin 2017 - Coupe FFC Auvergne Rhône Alpes 2017 : 5ème manche à Petit-Coeur le dimanche 25 juin !

Le club de Vélo Trial Petit-Coeur La Léchère organisera la 5ème manche de la Coupe Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes 2017 de Trial ce dimanche 25 juin ! Une (...)

22 juin 2017 - Coupe FFC Grand Sud 2017 : finale à St Sulpice le dimanche 25 juin !

La finale de l’édition 2017 de la Coupe FFC Grand Sud de Trial se déroulera le 25 Juin dans la petite ville de Saint-Sulpice-sur-Lèze en (...)

10 juin 2017 - Championnat Centre IdF 2017 : les zones de la finale de Larchant !

La finale du Championnat Centre / Ile-de-France Ufolep 2017 de Bike Trial se dispute ce dimanche 11 juin à Larchant. Retrouvez les infos sur ce (...)