From a dry, dusty, EWS win one week to a muddy, wet World Cup DH win the next. Martin Maes makes history.
Coming off his win at the Whistler EWS, Martin Maes headed to the La Bresse DH World Cup to get back up to speed on the DH bike in time for World Champs. And up-to-speed he was.
Martin knew he could do quite well on the course and a top ten finish would be his goal. Come race day, wet conditions would put some riders off their game but Martin kept it clean and fast. As each racer came down course it was clear that Martin would finish in the top ten. But it wasn’t until the final rider, Amaury Pierron, came across the line to confirm that Martin Maes had just made a new type of history. Back to back wins in EWS and DH. Pure talent. A true champion.
D.O.B? 27 of January 1997
Home town? Neupré, in Belgium.
What is your sporting background? I did all sort of sports when I was a kid. I still love to play football with some mates, tennis and anything on two and four wheels. I’m a wheels lover.
If you were 14 again, knowing what you know now, what would you change? Absolutely nothing. I have the best team and the best sponsors behind since the very beginning me which help me everyday to reach my goals. I race for the love of it but I also take it as a chance to say thanks to everyone through the results.
Cyclists from Belgium tend to be super strong at cyclo-cross and road, what made you choose MTB? My dad use to race MTB at a pretty good level. I grew up watching him and I truly wanted to do the same. He had a big influence on me. The great thing was that he never forced me to ride a bike. That came naturally.
If not cycling, what would you be doing instead? I’d be a gardener I think. Just because I love to spend time in the forest. It never gets old for me…
You’ve been really consistent at different venues, and on varying terrain, how do you do it? I live in Belgium. I have the « chance » to face any kind of conditions throughout the year. Mud, snow, dry, tacky,… It helps me massively on my riding. So I come into a race and I’m never scared of what will be the conditions. It’s a mental advantage even before to race.
What’s a typical hard training day like for you? You wake up early, go out on the roads bike and basically… smash yourself during intervals. Get back home and rest as much as possible to feel good the next morning. Luckily it’s never more than once a week hahaah!
What power and skills exercises do you recommend for budding enduro-istas? I’d recommend to anyone to play on his bike and have a lot of fun jumping around in the forest or in a skate park, BMX track. This is where I learned to ride a bike.
Do you have any plans to race w/cup XC or cross next year? Hahaa no way! This is too different in terms of skills and preparation. I’d have to loss 10kgs probably. This is not the plan!
Are you taking it easy over the coming winter months after a hectic dh and enduro schedule? It’s been a crazy year achieving what I never thought I’d ever achieve over my career. I did not have time to recover properly between the races in August and September. I’ve never felt that tired than after the season. I’m currently in a big break trying to do stuff I never get the chance to do over the season. It felt pretty damn good to get out of my everyday routine that is training – resting – racing.
What hobbies do you do when taking a break? I love to see my friends, spend times with my family and do different activities than biking. This is how I recharge my batteries for next season.
2018 has been pretty spectacular for you (and us watching – thanks!), is there anyone you would like to thank? First of all, I couldn’t have done it without all of them… Thanks to the fans, Thanks to GT factory racing team, the sponsors around it and particularly Fabric for this nice interview. 😉
Read more on Martin Maes at GT Bicycles.com
All photography by Sven Martin