Catching up with Sylvain André

Congrats on winning the World Cup. Overall how does it feel?

It feels amazing. Putting your name next to the Phillips, Willougbhy, Daudet, Fields, etc. is something every racer dreams of.  Now the trophy is in the house, I can finally take some time off and relax.  It’s a dream that was starting to fade away.  Fall 7 times stand up 8.

2nd place at the World Championships and almost catching Corben at the line – were you stoked with the result or bummed you came so close?

I was stoked. I’ve never done that well at a World’s before as an Elite, ever. Being in that main was gratifying and being in lane 3, I knew I could do something from there.  Maybe a different line in turn 3 would have made more of a difference, but I’m not going to complain, I’ll take it.

You’re one of the few AA/Elite riders that seem to enjoy your racing and you’re not afraid to have a beer, hit up a road trip and have some fun. Do you credit your success to a laid back attitude and having fun?

Definitely. We need to release the pressure sometime.  BMX racing is such a tough sport, the season is long, the training is hard and you need some fun to get back to work.  I wouldn’t imagine my training/season routine without some fun added.  Once on the gate, it really does not matter if you had a burger with a beer, or veggies and chicken last Sunday…

Like so many French riders including Joris and you can even go back to the Allier and Leveque days – the French seem to be so technically ahead of most countries with tracks, training and big events that can even pull in the outside public’s attention. Why is BMX so good in France?

I think our training system, with the clubs, etc., help the kids to become good skilled-riders.  Once you get this in your pocket, then you need to put the work in. You don’t learn all those skills when you’re 22 years old. The basic fundamentals are typically learned before you turn 16 -17. I think the French riders love to go to the big races, and race their competitors/friends, no matter the result.  They get that being on your bike and having fun is more important than training hard to win that 12 expert title.

You missed out on London, and again right at the last minute, Rio qualification. Was it tough to watch the games?

Yes, the 2012 and 2016 World’s weren’t good for me. You know the story.  It wasn’t really tough to watch the games, I’m a BMX fan, and I love to watch the races, whether I’m competing or not.  Of course, it hurts but there’s worse things in life to be sad about. At the end of the day, it’s just a bike race.  Unless you win it, your life is most likely going to remain the same.

Who are some of the riders you respect?

I have huge respect for all of my competitors. I wouldn’t be where I am without them or racing them. I’ve always watched guys like Kyle Bennett, Mike Day, Maris and Sam and learned so much from them over the years.

Who’s the next big thing to come out of France who we don’t know about yet?

We have some strong kids in the 13- 16 year old category. But France is well-known to put some juniors on the top of the box at World’s, and sometimes never see them again. You’ve got to put the work in, and when they’re 18-19, then you expect them to compete and succeed at the World Cup level.  No names on this one!

What’s the plan for the rest of the year and moving into 2018?

I’ll take some time off before going back to training for the Grands. I want to hang on to that 4th place overall then I’ll do everything to keep this into 2018 and try to repeat what I’ve achieved this year. Unless, USA BMX change their minds, I’ll stay here in France and compete in most of the races.  I love racing.

PC: Jerry Landrum

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