Gilles Coustellier après Mont Sainte-Anne

Gilles Coustellier after Mont Sainte-Anne

Sunday 12 September 2010
by Ben Swales
popularity : 16%

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The top Koxx rider Gilles Coustellier spoke to us yesterday in an interview in which we talked about his surprising performance in Mont Sainte-Anne. Everyone expected to see him on top of the World Championship podium, but the man who had won everything this season (and how!) found himself relegated to fifth place in the most important competition of the year… So what happened? Here’s a short interview with the French and European Champion, just after his return to France…


(Thursday 9th September 2010 - Photos: Michel Roy / Digital Direct Multimédia)

PNG - 293.4 kb So you got back OK? Have you just got back?

Yeah, I got back fine, I’m glad the flights over, I’m not into flying! I got back Tuesday lunchtime, I’m still feeling the jetlag!

Were you disappointed? You’d dominated the whole season like no one before you had managed to do, you were riding better than last year, winning everything, qualifications and finals, managing almost perfect trials on monstrous courses, miles ahead of everyone and then, the world title slips from your grasp… It was one competition, one title, you were the favourite to win and in the end you lost the jersey…

I’ll be honest, I’m mainly disappointed that I could have won but didn’t. If you look at the results the winner dropped an average of two points per section, which is amazing. I had a great season, to have won everything was amazing! But yes, I missed out on the title, but that’s how it goes! Everything is played for over one final, which goes to show that it comes down to the smallest of things. Nothing is decided beforehand. In this final, I had trouble settling on my bike, I couldn’t get into it like in the other comps. But that’s all part of the sport! It goes to show that we’re all human, me included, and that we can’t win everything.

JPEG - 134.1 kb Yes Gilles, you’re human like the rest of us! We were beginning to wonder… The qualifications were of an unexpected format, you would have thought it was a BIU competition pure and simple, they’re not really your thing are they? Did that fact that you were riding just before Kenny put you off?

In the qualifiers it was a mixture of imported/natural obstacles, but honestly, it wasn’t that great to ride, there was one rock here, one rock there, it wasn’t nice to ride on. Going before or after a rider doesn’t really bother me, I focus on my ride first and foremost and on the results afterwards. I’m not one of those riders who bases their rides on others. It just wasn’t my day. Why’s that? I don’t know, I need to look at it, to go over it again to find out what went wrong and to go on from it.

What was it that put you off in the final? Were you not at ease with the big kickers?

It’s true that kickers are not really my cup of tea. From the start I’ve never really worked on them, so I don’t really have the technique or the confidence. I’m going to work on them so that this doesn’t happen again.

JPEG - 981.9 kb What did you think of the sections that Thibaut Veuillet had set for the final?

Honestly? It was a real let down! I found the sections, and the mentality of certain people, very disappointing. Certainly not worthy of a World Championship! Out of six sections, three of them consisted of kickers and 15 pedal approaches. Section 1: The entry was impossible, you had to dab it to make sure. Section 2: Impossible exit, you had to dab. The rest was kickers and more kickers…

There was no variation! Only the last section was interesting, right at the end of the day. Why just kickers_ No sidehops, no hooks, hardly any gaps, none of that! I think in a final it’s a shame to have sections like that, that don’t properly represent our magnificent sport. We train the whole year, for that… Pffff… Another thing that was quite shocking to me was the part played by certain people who should have been neutral. Just before we set off for the final, a certain person said to me: You see this passage here? It’s been set for such and such a rider (I won’t mention his name). They set a section that he’d like. I think it’s pretty serious that a section setter allows himself to be influenced in that was by his friends! And Thibaut Veuillet is an old rider who hasn’t really seen the top riders riding for a number of years, just at Saint François. You shouldn’t judge an event on one other competition, but on many. Before the competition, he had no idea of the level! It’s a shame.

That’s not very cool… The competiton favoured left foot-forward riders… We perhaps didn’t expect to see Caisso or Benito on the podium?

Yeah, maybe not! The UCI’s technical team even modified a few of the sections because they had obviously been set with left-footed riders in mind! Veuillet’s left foot-forward himself, it just shows that he wasn’t exactly impartial. Benito is good at kickers, so it’s unsurprising that he was on the podium at this event, the same for Caisso. Kickers are his thing. I think I lost the competition on the kickers, but it’s cool that it’s showed me that I need to work on that area of my riding. The top three gave their best and the fully deserve to be on the podium. I’d also like to congratulate Marc on his third place. He’s leaving international competition on a high, and that’s the perfect example of a great champion!

JPEG - 701 kb Yeah, it’s a great farewell! What are your plans now? A holiday

My programme for the next few days is pretty simple... Rest, relax and rest. You have to rest before you go on the attack again in order to be in good shape. You have to draw a line under the season and readjust your goals.

And, knowing you, I suppose you’ll be training harder than ever when you pick it up again… Will 2011 Gilles be even harder to beat?

You’ve got it. This fifth place has made me even more motivated. We’ll see what happens in 2011, but I’ll be training hard to get back to my best.

OK, it’s midday, we’ll leave you… You’ll be about ready for some lunch!

Haha, yeah! Since I got back I’ve just been eating crap, paninis, nutella and bananas, takeaways, yesterday I went to Buffalo with Théau Courtes and his girlfriend, that was a feast! Lunch today is going to be simple: A load of pasta and a bit of meat!

Bon appetit! See you again soon Gilles.z All the best for 2011, we were really disappointed for you, losing the jersey after such a great season! But anyway, thanks for the incredible spectacles over the season… It was magnificent and we won’t soon forget it… We’d never seen trials at such a level! Thanks man, and thanks for being so available throughout the year to share your experiences and feelings before and after the competitions, it’s been really cool. It’sg great to see such a champion be so open and available...

Thanks to all of you above all, who helped me to get to where I am. Without all these people behind me I could never have got to such a high level. I’ve got a crazy entourage, superb fans and staff… With all of that behind me, I can only ride well! See you in the sections in 2011…


A few photos of Gilles Coustellier’s final by our Tribal Reporter El Pinpino… A gallery of photos by Michel Roy to come!

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