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Paul Magnier: “I fell in love with Julian Alaphilippe”

INTERVIEW. At just 19 years old, Paul Magnier, hope of French cycling and the Soudal Quick-Step, won the race. his first professional race on his first day of racing this Thursday, January 25.

À Just 19 years old, the young French rider Paul Magnier won the race. his very first professional race on the 2nd round of the Challenge Mallorca, in the sprint, after having been perfectly launched by his teammate Luke Lamperti. Despite the presence of Lampaert, Moscon, Cattaneo, the Belgian team placed its trust in the team. his young runner and çit paidé !

Two months ago, à At the dawn of his first season in contact with the best runners on the planet, Paul Magnier confided in by telephone, before leaving for Belgium for the presentation of the 2024 squad of Soudal Quick-Step. He recounts his discovery of the professional world, his first doubts when he fell into a career. ill in the spring, his meeting with Julian Alaphilippe and the other riders of his future team…

How did you get into cycling when you were younger?

When I was younger, I was quite a “multisport”, because in the Grenoble region you can go skiing, and I also did quite a bit of tennis and athletics. My father always rode competitively, even when he was young. I used to go see him on weekends when I was little. In fourth grade, he bought me a gift. a bike, so I started riding. &agrav; go shopping with him. And after that, the competitive spirit came quickly. 

Becoming a professional, what will change in your daily life?

Çit's going to become my job, so I'm making it more of a priority. The studies will be secondary, but I will continue so that I can also take my mind off things, see other people outside the world of cycling (editor's note: it is currently under STAPS license). Training will inevitably take up more space. And then there is also everything that is &agrav; side of training: recovery, for example. When you spend your day in class, it's complicated. to have the same performances throughout the year training. I will also be able to focus on nutrition, sleep… The training volume will be adapted to your needs. with the coaches so as not to have too big a difference from year to year, so as not to create an overload.< /p>

Why did you choose the Soudal Quick-Step? Have you had contact with other teams?

I started &agrav; "explode" on the road in Juniors 2 (year of 18s, 2022). At that time, I quickly had the contacts of all the "Continental" of the region, in particular all the Belgian, French çise… In the end, it was done quite quickly with Trinity, because it was the only opportunity to do so. that I had to be able to do mountain biking and road riding in the same team. Then Soudal Quick-Step contacted me. very early, like other teams. They offered me a job. to go on an internship with them in December and January (2022-2023). I had accepted gladly. Çit had gone really well, I had' very well integrated; in the team, when I was a young 18-year-old. À table, they did not hesitate. &agrav; come towards me, in particular the French runners: Rémi Cavagna, Julian Alaphilippe, Florian Sénéchal… I really enjoyed it. ça. And when I was there sick, it was the team that remained closest to me (editor's note: Paul Magnier had mononucleosis during part of the 2023 season, causing sometimes disappointing results). For example, Johan Molly (scout from Soudal Quick-Step) had not cut it. contacts only once and received news every week. Ça weighedé in my decision. And, of course, Soudal Quick-Step is one of the best teams in the peloton.

With Julian Alaphilippe, "we send each other a few messages before the races"

You are in regular contact with your new team, while waiting for the season to begin. come ?

I don't know if it's because I'm young or if it's the case for all runners, but there are a lot of contacts, video calls ;os… Çit definitely gives you confidence, you don't feel lost, even in a big team like this. Julian (Alaphilippe), I really fell in love with him. with him during the internships, and we stayed in touch afterwards. We send each other a few messages sometimes before the races. He also had injuries, he gave me some injuries. advice for managing this and the pressure of the media for example. It's not exactly the same thing, but I experienced a somewhat similar situation when I had mononucleosis. I was coming off an almost perfect season in Juniors 2 and I disappeared from the radar a little in Espoirs 1. It was mentally difficult, especially when we ;#39;trains like a patient but the results do not follow. But it made me grow up, and it's good that it happened to me. during my developmental years.

How did the period go with the rumors of a merger between the Soudal Quick-Step and Jumbo teams Visma? You were in the unknown for your future?

I was a bit like everyone else, I saw the news in the press. My agent tried to find out a little, but we mostly had to wait. The Soudal Quick-Step immediately renewed my confidence. his confidence when it became clear. And either way, I knew I was going to have an opportunity. somewhere. If it didn't happen on the World Tour, I could have stayed at the World Tour. Trinity or go to another team. I didn't worry too much about it. ça. 

"The European and World Championships (in the Espoirs category) will be the objectives of the season"

You will join the World Tour team directly without going through the World Tour team. oacute;development. It's a leap into the deep end that's still rare, ' Only 19 years old. How was it? made this decision ?

They had a place for me in World Tour and a place in Continental (development team). I discussed it; with the coaches and sports directors, and together we made the choice to launch myself into the World Tour so that I could develop in the best conditions, with the best staff in particular. But also with an adapted program and U23 races (under 23 years old). For example, I should do LièBastogne-Liège U23 and the Baby Giro (Giro U23) to test my climbing abilities. I'm also going to do some professional stage races, but no Grand Tour for now, only five-to-one races. ten days. Obviously, the European and World Championships (in the Espoirs category) will also be a goal at the end of the season. The team is aware that I am still young, and we are not going to miss the stages. 

Paul Magnier: “I fell in love with Julian Alaphilippe”

Paul Magnier in the colors of the Trinity team © Paul Magnier/Trinity Racing

How was your first year in the adult road peloton, with Trinity?

The beginning was a bit hard because my level of English wasn't great, but I quickly progressed. and now I get by in English, whereas before…(laughs). The atmosphere was great, and we had great results this year (editor’s note: several stage victories). Thanks to à I was able to go mountain biking and road riding without asking myself any questions. It was in the Continental category, so there were not courses and competitions every week either. Next year with the Soudal Quick-Step, there will be many more days of competition, courses, events, meetings with sponsors and everything ça… 

Are you going to continue à combine mountain biking and road cycling ?

I will tend à do a lot more competitions on the road. But, à training, I will also go mountain biking to continue my training. vary the pleasures. For competitions, it's a bit different. see. This will be done according to the speed à which I develop, because the primary goal is for me to become a great athlete on the road. Afterwards, we know that outdoor disciplines like mountain biking or cyclocross can help with development, so we can add more to the calendar. The coaches told me that they would not hesitate, if I wanted.

How do you prepare for your first real professional season ? 

I work with a Soudal Quick-Step trainer. Everything is detailed, it's the first time I've seen that. Otherwise, for long outings, we organize ourselves with other runners in the region. Eddy Finé (Cofidis runner) lives very close to me, there are many runners and mountain bikers in the region. I always get there find a small group. I will also train with Antoine Huby (another French runner who will join the Soudal Quick-Step) & Nice soon. We are well organized (laughs). We have sleep and activity sensors, more and more precise, which allow us to know more and more precisely. allows the team to have as much data as possible even outside of training. And obviously now everyone uses power and heart rate sensors. Nutrition on the bike takes on a lot of importance, as does recovery. We go to the osteopath once a month, we do regular blood tests…hellip; They can also help us with the mental aspect. It's full of little details that sometimes make the difference.

"I like profiles like Christophe Laporte and Mathieu van der Poel"

Which runner do you want to become ? What races would you dream of winning ?

The classics make me dream. And one of my biggest career goals, if it's possible one day, would be to be world champion. Being able to wear a jersey for a whole season. European champion too obviously. I like profiles like Christophe Laporte or Mathieu van der Poel, who are tall like me, with a lot of "punch" and a good sprint, which are also my main qualities. I'm still young so I haven't finished developing. I grew again this winter, we will see over time how I evolve.

If you go towards these profiles, you will have a good mentor in the person of Julian Alaphilippe…

It's sure, he had two world champion titles, classics, and then he shone in the world. on the Tour de France too… But that's still a long way off for me (smile).

Would you like to add something?

I would still like to thank the Trinity team, which was là when I came back with a physical condition à zero after my mononucleosis. They quickly trusted me, I worked on them. with a team coach for the end of the season. They registered me directly for the Tour du Limousin, where I was 2nd in the last stage, then in the Tour of Britain, which is their number one race since it was the first place in the race. team is British. I was extremely motivated for the end of the season and they trusted me. Pierre-Yves Chatelon (coach of the France Espoirs team) also got in touch with me again. quickly after my illness and witnessed to me how great brands of trust. I can only thank him.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116