We interview young French sensation and Junior world champion, Mathilde GROS, about her career, goals for the future, and life outside of cycling.
When and how did you start cycling, and especially track sprinting?
I began cycling in September 2014, but I couldn’t really train until March 2015 because I had lots of little crashes when I began, and I was really scared after that to go on the track again. Before I played basketball and I wanted to become a professional basketball player. I was in gym for basketball, and the BMX riders of France were at the same time as me at the centre, so for fun my coach of basketball said that I should go on the WattBike, and I did a sprint and I had really good results!
What do you enjoy most about cycling?
I love share moments with my family. In sprinting I really like the speed, but also the duel against someone, and also the duel against oneself! I like the respect and values of this sport.
You were junior World champion last year, how was that experience?
It was an incredible experience, the better experience as a junior in my life.
You are the new sensation of track cycling and already winning medals in the elite ranks, how are you finding the experience?
It was an experience really rich for learning. I learnt a lot. I met lots of the best riders in cycling. It was a really good for me!
You and many other young sprinters are a part of the French cycling academy for Tokyo 2020 to take on the British, how do you feel about the French chances?
I don’t know the chance of it. I just know that I want to be one of the best riders (like a lots of other riders) and I will give the best I can to take medals at the Olympics games.
You come from the birth place of cycling, France, has that inspired you at all?
Yes I was really inspired by this country. When I started cycling I met lots of famous riders like Florian ROUSSEAU and also Felicia BALLANGER. They gave me lots of tips on lots of things!
You also went to race in the Japanese professional keirin, how was that?
I am so lucky to went to Japan last year. It was so incredible for me. I couldn’t believe that the JKA took me for this year, I was young at just 18 years old! It was the best experience of my life! I met lots of people, and I made lots of friends. I didn’t know so much the elite riders because I was a junior one year ago, so this experience was really great for me to meet riders like Stephanie MORTON, Natasha HANSEN, Laurine VANRIESSEN, Nicky DEGRENDELE and the boys …. It was so cool!!!!!! I loved the experience, it was unbelievable!!
Tell us something that we wouldn’t know about you?
I love to share moments of happiness with my loved ones, and I am someone who smiles all the time!
What are your interests outside of cycling?
I like go out shopping with friends or my sister and my mum. I like visit monuments and travel the world. I also continued my school so later I can teach teenagers in high school.
What is a typical training day for you?
I wake up at 7h50, have breakfast at 8h and after that gym at 9h30 and finish at 11h. After lunch at 12h, a little nap (really important for me, ha ha, only 25 minutes!). Training on the track is from 15h00 to 18h30, and after that dinner at 19h. After that I work my courses of my school because i have big exams twice a year. And to finish my day, I sleep at 22h30!
Are you excited for the Olympics to come to Paris in 2024?
Yes I am very excited for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris! We are so lucky to have the Olympic in our country! Already, not many athletes have the chance to go to the Olympics, but even less to do them in their own country! Just imagine! In front of your family, your friends.. I hope it will be so cool!
What are you goals for the future?
In the future I will give the best I can to become the best rider, and become Olympic champion, it’s my dream and my goal!
What advice do you have for junior riders looking up to you?
Believe in yourself, and work, work, work… Always remembering why you do this, to stay focused if it’s hard, and to continue.
I want just say thank you to my coach for all, and because he believes in me.
Thank you of my family who support me and come almost everywhere to support me during a big race.
Thank you of the best mechanic also ????
I want say to Kristina Vogel that she is a beautiful person and really strong girl! Thanks a lot for your beautiful video for me!
Cycling has allowed me to meet with lots of athletes! And I can live a life with beautiful moments!
Thank you a lot for your support BLS ????
Interview by: Matthew de Freitas
Co-founder of BLS