Miguel Martinez, one of the greatest mountain bikers in the history of the sport, is now trying to add a new quality to his career. Thanks to a three year contract with Mapei, the diminuitive Frenchman will take his wheels to the road and his first big objective is this summers Tour de France.”L’Enfant Terrible” comments on his development and expectations for his road career.
From his father Mariano, a former king of the mountains in the Tour de France, he learned of his spanish cycling ancestry and was one of the main factors in his decision to switch from mountain to road cycling. Olympics, world cup, world championships, Tour de France VTT… Martinez has already scaled the heights of the sport of mountain biking, but for “Little Mig” the young age of 26 has left him with the desire to succeed in traditional cycling.
T- Do you idolize Laurent Jalabert?
MM – Yes, because he is a great of cycling, a great man”.
T- When did you start cycling?
MM- “When I was 6 years old. Not only my father, Mariano, but my entire family is steeped in the cycling tradition”.
T- Why did you choose to race on the mountain bike and not on the road?
MM- “I started on the road, but when I got a mountain bike at the age of 10 I started racing and I believed that I was better at that. I was most concerned with the podium and the things that followed that”.
T- What’s your relationship with cyclocross?
MM- “It’s a great sport for the winter, at the end of the season I’ll do a couple of races. Not too much, though, it’s hard to compete when others make it the focus of their entire season”.
TWO OLYMPIC MEDALS
T – How was your experiences at the Olympics?
MM- “Great, of course, because I’ve earned two medals. At Atlanta I didn’t really have any pressure to medal because I had already won the world cup that year. Also in Sydney I had already had a good year and I came to the race as the favorite. They are very important events and being consistetent is very important”.
T- Have you ever competed at downhill?
MM- “No, never. It’s a side of racing very dangerous, I couldn’t risk getting hurt”.
T- How is the mountain biking situation in France?
MM- “Several years ago there was a really big boom in the sport, but now, like everywhere, it’s diminishing, it’s harder to find good pay and there are more racers out there”.
MOTIVATION FOR THE ROAD
T- Why did you decide to switch from the mountain bike to the road?
MM- “Because road cycling is more competitive. I feel like I’ve achieved everything there is to achieve in mountain biking already”.
T- Why have you chosen Mapei? Were you contacted by ibanesto.com or a french team?
MM- “It was the opportunity to race for the largest and best team in the world and for me it was a unique opportunity. After the olympics last year my father insisted that I take this contract because the time was ideal. Banesto had interest in me several years ago, when I was only 20 years old, but I decided to race for the Sunn mountain bike team instead. In France, Cofidis has some interest in my situation”.
T- What kind of relationship do you have with your new teammates?
MM- “Cadel Evans is the one that I know best because we raced together in the mountain biking world. Was I known? Yes, they had heard some about me and my potential on the road. Oscar Feire is a great racer and a really nice guy; he’s also a great mountain biker!”
STILL RACING THE MOUNTAIN BIKE
T- How did things go with the negotiations between Full Dynamix and Mapei?
MM- “We had problems all throughout the winter. This year I’ll be racing for Mapei and for Full Dynamix on the mountain bike. I’ll be doing the world cup races and the world championships”.
T- How have you prepared to race on the road?
MM- “The physical requirements have changed alot, I’ve already went from 53 to 55 kilos because I’ve spent more time in the gym”.
AT THE TOUR DE FRANCE
T- Isn’t it alot to be racing the Tour de France in your first year as a road racer?
MM- “It’s a race that I respect very much, I’ll be going mainly for experience, not for any expectations”.
T- Which do you prefer, winning a stage or the king of the mountains competition?
MM- “The KOM, but that’s a competition that is very, very hard to win”.
T- Were you suprised by the excellent transition to road that Cadel Evans has demonstrated?
MM- “Yes, because he’s shown a great deal of strength. My goal is to be at that level soon and get a couple of triumphs this year”.