Gilles Coustellier après Canberra

Gilles Coustellier on Canberra and beyond

Thursday 10 September 2009
by Ben Swales
popularity : 4%

JPEG - 349.1 kb An hour ago we interviewed Gilles Coustellier, just a couple of days after his return from Australia. We asked him about his gold medal, the final and the World Championship in general and he talked us through his incredible season and his plans for 2010, when he wants to raise the bar even higher!

He also told us that the Grey Sky, on which he rode his way onto every podium this season, will soon be arriving on the market...

A big thanks to Reese, to Max Schrom and our German friends from the Trial Team Hoffmann and to Michel Romen of RideActive.nl for the excellent photos!

PNG - 299.6 kb

Interview of Gilles Coustellier :

JPEG - 141.3 kb Jébegood: Hello Champ!!!

Gilles Coustellier: Hi, how’s it going?

Jb: Not bad cheers... So, you came back on Tuesday? How was the flight? You told us in our last interview that you hated flying…

G.C.: That’s right, I got home on Tuesday at about 10pm. I was pretty stressed about taking the plane, but in the end it was fine. Of the four flights, only one was a bit bumpy. Luckily I had Claire there to look after me! I’m pretty happy though – I’m not so scared any more.

Jb: Cool... So how was Australia? Did you see any kangaroos? It’s winter there now isn’t it?

G.C.: It was ok, but Canberra’s not that great. It’s not even 100 years old, so there’s not much to see or do. On the other hand, it’s in the middle of the bush, and I loved that! I saw loads of kangaroos, I was about one metre from a few of them. Yeah, it was winter there, but the weather was just like at home, it was really nice.

Jb: So you managed to achieve your ambitious goal of retaining all three jerseys – do these ones mean more to you than the last ones?

G.C.: Yeah, I did it! Two years in a row is incredible. You could say that I appreciate them more, but it’s impossible not to appreciate them y’know? It’s the result of years of work, sacrifice etc….

Jb: Congratulations!

G.C.: Thanks.

JPEG - 149 kb Jb: Let’s talk about your competition in Canberra, it was another super-impressive performance… After the first lap you and Kenny distanced yourself from the rest of the field, although not by much – Vincent was just one point behind you. On your second lap you and Kenny had exactly the same scores again and had to be separated on most cleans – there was hardly a thing between you! Were the sections up to the event do you think - the first photos that we saw a few weeks ago meant that we were expecting the biggest sections of the season, but in the end it turned out to be easier than we’d thought?

G.C.: I didn’t think the sections were that bad at all, the only negative thing that I can say is that some of the moves were impossible to get through without a dab, which meant that it was harder to set yourself apart from the rest of the field. I didn’t have much luck in this final, the chicken wire that came off in the log section (I took three points there) and three punctures (one of which led to a five). Without all this bad luck I would have had a much bigger lead. It didn’t matter too much in the end.

JPEG - 256.1 kb Jb : Three punctures?! That IS bad luck! Kenny Belaey set off after you – did he calculate his ride according to yours?

G.C.: Yeah, three! I don’t know why – I was riding super-smooth! As for Kenny, he doesn’t know how to ride for himself, he only rides according to the others. I’m pretty happy, even adjusting his ride according to mine he finished behind me. That proves who’s the better rider.

Jb: Kenny’s been questioning the competence of the observers in Canberra and the UCI’s professionalism, saying that the victory should have been his this year. What do you make of it? Is it bad grace again? Did you notice any failings by the observers or the organisers or in the section setting?

JPEG - 182.8 kb G.C.: He does this every year. He did exactly the same thing last year. He’s just not a true professional – it’s just bad grace. When I ride a World Cup and it’s his dad who set the sections and organises the observers, I never say anything. That’s OK though, it’s always been in his favour. Also, there were two observers per section! I found the observers to be competent. I think things are going the right way.

Jb: You’ve abandoned the World Cup, having spent all year battling to stay in the lead – any regrets?

G.C.: No, no regrets. I’ve retained my three titles, what more could I want? I have to leave something to Kenny…

JPEG - 125.5 kb Jb : Jb: The most important title of the season depends on just one competition, as it does with the other MTB disciplines. Wouldn’t it be better to do as they do in moto trials and play it out over a whole season? What do you think?

G.C.: I’ve been saying for years that it should be played out over a minimum of six competitions. That way we’d see who the real champion was. Maybe one day.

Jb: Benito won his sixth World Champion’s jersey this year – that’s incredible! Did you watch him?

G.C.: Yeah, Benito’s still the big boss in 20”. It’s unbelievable! I didn’t manage to watch him round, it was the day before my final and I preferred to concentrate on that. I wish Comas had been able to ride, that would have been a good final!

Jb: In 26” there was a non-seeded Australian rider who qualified for the final – Joe Brewer. Did you ride with him at all.

G.C.: Yeah, I rode with him a bit one day before the comp started. He’s really powerful, but lacks a lot of technique. You can see that he only works on big moves. Still, it was cool that he made it to the final.

JPEG - 98.4 kb Jb: Which was your favourite and most intense comp of the season?

G.C.: I really liked the European Championship, the sections were massive with moves that could really make a difference in the standings. But they’ve all been good this year.

Jb: You won everything on your Grey Sky this year, is the bike ready now? When will it be coming out? Any info?

G.C.: The bike’s more then ready. It swallows up obstacles! It should be out in a couple of weeks – I can’t wait to see the production model!

Jb: Cool! What’s the weight of your fully built proto?

G.C.: I don’t know exactly – my scales aren’t that precise, but it’s about 8.2kg. It’s light without being to light. I think it’s the ideal weight.

Jb: That’s really light! So, the season’s over, you’ve achieved your goals, what does the 26” boss do now? A well deserved rest? Perhaps a bit of fishing?

G.C.: Ha – yeah, I’m going to have a bit of a rest before I start training for 2010. I’ve got a lot of demos planned in September. I’m going to have a think with Claire and see what we can do!

Jb: What are your goals for 2010? Three new jerseys?

JPEG - 84 kb G.C.: Yeah, that and I’m also going to try a bit of 20” and see if I can get a new record – the double Elite title’s never been won!

Jb: That’s a super ambitious goal! Where does it stop though?

G.C.: I don’t know. I think that beating Benito is almost impossible, but it’d be really nice to get on the 20” podium and still retain the 26” title!

Jb: You and Vincent seem to have reached a new level in 26” trials, they even created a new category at K-124 Day – Super-Elite… Can you progress further? What are the margins for progression at your level? Can you get physically or technically better?

JPEG - 98.6 kb G.C.: Yeah, I’m still progressing loads! Especially sidehops. This winter I’m going to work more on my physique, there’s still plenty of room for improvement there! There’s also plenty of room for evolution and improvement on the bikes.

Jb: How high are you sidehopping these days?

G.C.: I can do 1.45m most of the time, I’m starting to get quite good!

Jb: Well, thanks for all of that, it’s really good of you to do these interviews. Anything else to add?

G.C.: No problem – I really don’t mind! Just one more thing to say: VINCENT, I’VE GOT SOME NICE SOFT TISSUES IN THE HOUSE!!! (he’ll understand!)

Jb: lol ok private joke ! OK, thanks again, congratulations on a phenomenal season, it’s been great watching your progress! Bravo!

G.C.: Thanks – see you soon!

JPEG - 86.7 kb


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