Interview with 10x Spanish Champion Benito Ros
Sunday 29 July 2012
by Ben Swales
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Benito Ros has won no less than ten Spanish Championships. The most recent was this year, when he beat Abel Mustieles in Pedro Bernardo, (Ávila). After a difficult and demanding trial, Benito put on the Spanish No. 1 jersey once more. We were there to watch and managed to catch up with him afterwards for an exclusive interview. For 15 minutes Benito talked to us about the state of his knee, why he has been off the scene for a while and how he sees this season with the arrival of Vincent and departure of Dani, the Wrold Cups, etc. Benito answered all of our questions with his customary openness and it was a real pleasure talking to him. We hope you enjoy the reading the interview as much as we enjoyed carrying it out it. Over to Benito…

Interview

1.- Congratulations Benito, Spanish Champion again! How many is that now?

Benito: If I remember rightly I think it’s ten. A nice round number!

JPEG - 462.1 kb 2.- Were you expecting the result? How did the competition go?

Benito: I was hoping for it, of course. When it comes down to it, I hope to win every trial I enter. That’s what I train for. That’s always the intention. You come to every trial and try to win, but you´re always conscious that you’ll have to fight for it. As for the competition, to tell you the truth, it was really tiring! The sections didn’t look too bad to begin with, not too difficult, but in the end, whether it was down to the type of rock or the length of the sections, you tired very quickly. You’re half way through a section, you’re exhausted, you see that you still have the pther half to go and you just think “uffff…” I think that it’s there that you win the trial or you don’t; when you fight through the exhaustion and know how to ride when you’re feeling like that.

3.- It seemed like it was going to be a fight between Abel and you for the title. Both of you were injured, but it looked like Abel was suffering more. How was your knee?

Benito: If you look back two or three weeks, Abel was doing better than me with his injury, but I don’t know, perhaps he was in more pain today. I think it just came down to who was better today. I don’t think either of us are going to blame our injuries for what happened today, that’s just excuses and stuff that gets said after the trial, but look... I’m not going to complain about my knee - it’s not perfect, but I can ride with it, so why complain? Sure, on big moves or if I had a fall it hurt a bit, but generally speaking I can put up with it. I’m on the way to recovery - much better than last year, I can tell you!

4.- We hadn’t heard much from you for a while. All we know is that you spent a lot of time off the bike, which meant that your level dropped a bit. How was that for you?

Benito: The truth is that I’ve been a bit disconnected from it all, but look, when you’re not training, you see that your level isn’t that high and for people like me, who are competitive, that can affect your state of mind, you motivation. It can all get a bit much for you. So I just did what I could, what suited me and my knee. I haven’t made as much progress with my knee as I’d hoped I would have, but its better than it was. I’m not going to say I’ve won the war, but perhaps a few battles.

5.- As you know, we’ve got a lot of respect and admiration for you; we’ve seen you at the top of your game for a long time now and you’ve always had plenty of time for us. It would be a sad day if you didn’t manage to get back to your best. Are you nearly there? Do you think you’ll get back to your best soon?

Benito: That’s the sort of thing you worry about, that you won’t get back to your best. When you’re training and at a high level you don’t necessarily realise what you’ve been through to get there, but when you have to start again, you see what you have ahead of you, what you have to do. You have to compromise with yourself about what you want to do and it can get quite compicated. It’s a mental struggle. Luckily, it looks like I’m winning this one!

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6.- In the World Cup, according to you blog, it was more of a case of mistakes and not finding your rhythm than of problems with your knee.

Benito: Completely. It kind of went according to plan though. Of course, I wanted to try to win – even though I hadn’t trained for almost a year, when I go to a competition I try to win. But it went as well as I expected really; I new I would be a little ‘green’ for the first rounds, but you know, you still want to do your best. I’m confident that I’ll get better over the course of the summer. The competitions will be decisive, so want to be riding as well as I can. We’ll see. Hopefully things will improve as we go. I want to be able to ride at my best, with the best preparation. That’s my goal. I haven’t fully recovered from my injury and I don’t want that to drag on either. I started late with my training and recovery, but the good thing about this year is that all of the important evens are concentrated over three months, so it’s only three months of suffering, not six.

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7.- Dani has left the UCI circuit and Vincent has made the move to 20". What do you make of that? Do you see Vincent as a rival with a shot at the title, given that Abel and you are injured?

JPEG - 120.6 kb Benito: I honestly didn’t think Vince would be capable of winning to begin with. But I’m glad he’s made the move. He’s a good rider who has come over to 20” for the experience. I’m happy that he’s here. That’s not just because he rides for the same company as me or anything; it’s because I like him and because his arrival has added something to the category. As for Dani… I don’t know if he’s retired from UCI permanently or not. We’ll have to see. Anything can happen. It’s clear that he’s been a rider of note, however. He was a big rival. It’s not that I’m happy that he’s left, but there’ll be less work for me now! But if I’ve had a parallel career with anyone, it’s with Dani. We’re the same age, we started at the same time, even at the same trial I think. We’ve done pretty much the same things. Each in our own way, but we’ve been in the same situations throughout our careers. So I feel pretty close to Dani. We’ve had our differences of course. You know how it is in competition – if we’d been boxers, things would have been very different! But I value Dani’s friendship and I have a lot of respect for him and the decisions that he’s made. I hope it goes well for him. I’m happy that Vince has stepped into the gap though. It’s shaken things up a bit! I’m glad he’s come along.

8.- Your best season was in 2010…

Benito: Results-wise, yes. But level-wise, you never know…

- OK, let’s change the question. At your best you’re at 100%. What percentage would you say you were at now?

Benito: Let’s say 75% or so.

9.- Based on that, how do you see the European competitions, the World Cups?

Benito: Like I say, I hope that that level, that percentage will keep rising. It’s going more or less according to plan; I started off OK and am better gradually better. I’m hoping to get back to my best in time for the World Championships. I’m optimistic!

- Your priority is the World Championships then? If you had the choice between winning the World Championship and winning everything else, you’d choose the Worlds?

Benito: Yes, for me it’s the Worlds. It’s much more important. We all know that the winner of the World Cup is the best. I think that whoever wins the Cup this year will be the best, but what sets the Championships (Europe, Spain, World) apart is that you know that everything can be won or lost on a single move, a single mistake, So whoever manages their competition the best is the best, you know? We all know that we’re good, but you have to show it in competition. Every single move matters.

10.- Well, we’re glad to see you on the mend. Good luck for the next competitions and thanks for your time.

Benito: You’re welcome. Thanks for your support and for your concern. We’ll be in touch again soon, I’m sure. And thanks for coming. You know, when you see that there are spectators who are still there and still interested at eight in the evening, it makes you want to keep going a bit more!

Interview by Álvaro López

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