07 May 2018
As the principal favorite, race ambassador and two-time winner, how will you approach the fifth edition? Do you intend to take back the title of champion of La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano?
Racing at home, and after having won two previous editions, it’s clear that I’d be named as one of the favorites, but don’t forget that my discipline is cross country and La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano is a marathon stage race. Although I’m racing on home turf, it’s always difficult to switch disciplines and win. The objective is to at least win a stage and try to score in the general, while taking into account that the following week, I will compete in two world cup races.
What does La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano mean to you?
I am very proud of the race that we have created among all of us: Octagon, La Rioja’s government, the citizens of Rioja, and especially the more than one thousand participants who show up each year. It means a lot to me because it has brought mountain biking to my land; it is both a sport and a job that has given me everything I have today. As race ambassador in my own backyard for an international race of reference is something super important that I value very much. Without a doubt, it is something that must be fostered and maintained over time.
What would you highlight in this edition?
This year’s routes are — if possible — routes with a little more singletrack, especially in the first and the last stages, which will be very fun. It is a Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano that I think will make everyone happy. Both types will be able to enjoy it: those who possess significant technical prowess, and those looking for doubletrack combined with lots of trails.
What’s your favorite part of the race?
The most beautiful part of the race is everything that surrounds it. From Thursday’s race number pickup, to greeting all the participants, to all three stages. For me, the first stage is the most beautiful of all, since it’s where I train every day, but the second and third stages are also spectacular. My favorite parts are all of them, from beginning to end.
More than 80 percent of race participants are amateur mountain bikers. What would you recommend to them to continue participating in these types of races?
The beauty of this race is the combination of both professional and amateur mountain bikers. Not only does the competition stand alone as a highlight, it blends well with those who are competing: those who set their own goals to improve, those who come to enjoy time with the family, and those who value the landscape, the La Riojan people, and their gastronomy. In La Rioja we are known nationally for being a community that mixes a bit of the north with the south, and combines the enjoyment of nature and gastronomy.
Besides La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano, how else are you facing the season this year?
This season we have not yet reached the midpoint. Starting May 28, the points race begins for scoring an Olympic berth for Tokyo in 2020. This is when we start marking the season’s most important objectives, despite having competed in La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano and two World Cups just prior. The season enters its hot spot, keeping in mind that from May 28 is when you have to be more fit for the future Olympic Games.