VELO-CONCEPT, 01.10.2003

Alain Prost: Passionate cyclist!

With friendly allowance of Patrick François,
Click here for the French version of this interview.

Our new guest, Alain PROST, is an attentive witness to the evolution of endurance cycling over the last 10 years. Here he gives us the reasons for his passion for our sport.

Alain, you recently participated yet again in the Stage of the Tour, which makes several years now that we've seen you on the endurance cycling circuit, loyal to certain events and always competing with intensity. What brought you to practice endurance cycling?
My first endurance cycling event was in 1993. This was the Stage of the Tour which took place in the Pyrenees, at a time when I was cycling with the goal of solving a knee problem. I signed up for the Stage to honour a bet I had made with some buddies. We were all in a "club" of close friends, and all of us had Maxi Sports bicycles which were made by Cyrille Guimard and which were used at that time by his Pro team.

Apparently, you found it to your liking, since you are now a passionate and well trained enthusiast…
That's well understood, my passion for cycling is part of that, since I very quickly became aware of the benefits of healthy and regular cycling. After this, I got to know Jacques Cadiou and we decided to create a top quality bike label along with Fignon, who had somewhat the same objective. The three of us created the PROFICA line and maintained the organization for a few years, before selling it to the Veloland bicycle company. We always saw a good number of cyclists riding PROFICAs in races, partly because of the constant efforts of Jacques Cadiou, who ran his club with a great knowledge of the milieu.

How do you see the evolution of endurance cycling?
In almost 10 years of involvement, I've seen considerable evolution, linked in my opinion to several related factors. First is the development of techniques making available the high performance materials which we are acquainted with these days, including wheels, composite materials, gears, and the assembly of these components. I myself am an enthusiast when it comes to high performance materials, and I can therefore give an informed opinion. Progress in this area has been really significant. In addition, we have seen an increase in leisure time, giving cyclists the freedom to do more and better training. If one also considers that training methods are also very sophisticated and available to much greater numbers of athletes thanks to developments in communication and to in-depth articles in specialty sports publications, one then sees athletes who are able to optimize their potential and those with average work schedules are able completely naturally to actualize it.

What are your favourite races?
For me, the ideal races are in the mountains, which bring something extra to the active cyclist. However, I also like equally as much the hilly courses where nature and the countryside are sometimes exceptional. I must equally add that I don't really like to participate in events where different races are mixed up, at the start or at the finish, because the competitive aspect is vital, the mix of genres is sometimes difficult to manage.

Can you give us your vision for the future of endurance cycling?
Without any doubt at all, the future is positive, provided, however, that it is structured, since it's often difficult to find one's way with different rules, categories, handicaps, and other things. It also seems to me that the powers that be should keep an attentive eye on the expense books of the organizations. If these factors promote a harmonious development, even better, you'll be seeing me for several years at the start of endurance races.

Cyclo News. 10/2003. Rights reserved -
With friendly allowance of use on AP-H3.

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