08 May 2018
As a warrior until the last minute, you have managed an incredible record. Four-time champion of La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano and winner of every stage, these triumphs single you out as the favorite for one more year. Are you aiming for a fifth consecutive win?
Definitely! Obviously I would love to stay out in front and earn a fifth victory, but I am aware that this will be the most challenging year. I’m also training more for cross-country events, so we’ll see how I am in a three-day stage race. The truth is that the competition is very strong and, if I get on the podium, I will be happy, but if I repeat a victory, that would be perfect. I'm sure this year will not be easy.
What would you highlight about the race, both at a sporting level, as well as its surroundings?
On a sporting level, La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano is a UCI event and so the route is always spectacular. At an organizational level and with respect to the race setting, it’s always perfect. The fact that it’s UCI-sanctioned, the level of competition is very good because there are professional and amateur racers to mix things up. If we talk about the race setting, we all know that Logroño has mountains, trails and amazing landscapes and, if we add in the culture of gastronomy on Laurel Street, it has a lot going for it so people come back year after year.
La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano is a sport and tourist attraction. Does this make it one of the season’s most attractive events?
Without a doubt, the quality of the route and the surrounding environment make it one of my favorite races. As proof, there have been five editions of the race; I have participated in all of them — I think that says it all.
What would you recommend to someone doing her first stage race?
I always say the same thing: you have to remember that it's three days so you have to control your efforts. It's better to go from less to more — especially on the first day; it’s wise to be a little cautious in order to save your strength. It’s very important not to waste yourself too much at the beginning, because if you can ride with intensity all three days, you’ll enjoy it much more. It’s important to remember that during the race, it’s necessary to manage your nutrition and hydrate well in order not to bonk, since recovering for the next day will cost you more. Above all, control your efforts to finish strong on the last stage.
What do you think is the benefit to having both amateur and professional mountain bikers?
The fact that there are amateurs and professionals is a good mix because maybe the amateurs like to see how the professionals compete — to have them around — familiar faces that they may not see during the year, and to be able to race with them to see how they match up. For the professionals, we also like to mix it up with the amateur racers, especially to take in the ambience after the finish. We are less tense, it's more fun, you may have more friends racing and you can hang with them later in the day. The circumstances are more relaxed and make for an interesting and very personal mix.
Although you say you are more focused on cross-country events, you are still participating in marathon MTB races where you continue to triumph, what would you highlight about each race format?
Cross-country is much more explosive, technical and faster, and perhaps sometimes more entertaining. But I also enjoy marathons a lot because they’re more about finding your rhythm and enjoying them, seeing the scenery and traveling through beautiful landscapes. They are two very different disciplines, but I enjoy both a lot, which is why I want to continue participating in stages races like La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano or the GAES Catalunya Bike Race presented by Shimano.
This year you’ve changed teams, what’s on your race calendar?
This year is the first that I am on UCI team with Megamo, and I am very happy. We have changed the calendar a little and will do two or three stage races and two or three marathons this year, with the greatest objective to improve in the discipline of cross-country by participating in the World Cups, and European and some national and international events, with the goal to improve in this discipline and to get some good results.