Biketrial interview: Abel Mustieles after the 20″ World Championship

musti_europeo1: Hi Abel, thank you for your time and speed in giving us this interview. 2nd place, this year is different from previous years, I don’t know whether to congratulate you because we don’t know if you are happy or how you can be after what happened. On the first day we saw you comfortable but the final went wrong, tell us how it went:

ABEL MUSTIELES: Hello, first of all thanks to you for the speed and interest. Let’s really see what I did I’m very happy. Especially because of the desire that had to be put into it after everything that happened… I was about to throw in the towel, when the second bike broke I told Cesar that I wanted to retire.

The truth is that I didn’t see the point of fighting anymore. But well, my father Rafa Tibau, Cesar, Kenny Belaey convinced me to continue, we fixed the bike again, Benito overtook us because we lost a lot of time… The truth is that I had a very good feeling with myself. I made really good steps for myself.

I started the race very motivated because I felt very good in all aspects. Zone 1 was secured, zone two gave me a pedal that they invented just like Vincent, that control was a bit strict, but as I say the sensations were really good. In zone 3, about the middle of the zone, there was an insurance that could be thrown at him, but you ate the arrow, which is what happened to Benito, apart from the fact that it was for left-handers. I want to point out that, the trial, more the semi than the final, was scored by a left-hander.

We really had to fight twice as hard as a lefty, that’s why from here I call on the organizations. I don’t want them to mark in favor of one or the other, I just want them to mark neutral because there was a very great inequality. That’s where the brake hose broke and I ran out of oil.

Well, I took the second bike which is good but it’s not the same as the first one because it’s the first prototype, it weighs a little more and doesn’t go exactly the same as the other one. I kept trying to find the sensations, I didn’t slow down much but more or less I was working. The truth is that I was very affected by morale, zone 4 already unmotivated I made a 5, the truth is that in that area they went a little too far when marking it and there was a step that was impossible for us to do all 5. In zone 5 I did quite well and at the start I got out of control and I failed.

abel_mustieles_vert2In zone 6 I was even worse emotionally and they gave me a very dubious 5 but hey, you’re in a World Cup and what it says is sacred. We all got 5 doubtful because of what I’m finding out and because of things I’ve seen but well, that’s what it is, if a control says it’s 5 it’s 5 and that’s it. Again I started zone 1 that was the one insured just like the first lap, I nailed it and that’s it.

Zone 2 was the one with stones and it was where I could stand out a bit because I really liked it a lot. I do the first step already difficult, then there was a part of the procedure, I am leaning to throw at a splice that there were with some spikes and when I brake I lower the lever to the handlebars… Of course, I don’t think it can be again. I put my foot down to see what was happening and I saw the pad fall to the floor, the cylinder hanging down and the aluminum plate torn off. I looked at Cesar and of course I was already sunk. I looked at the control, the control asked me what I was doing, imagine the situation when I then told him;  Give me the card please… Nothing, I got off the bike, leaned against a wall and that’s when Cesar, Kenny, my father came and well that’s when I said it was going to happen, the stick had really been very hard.

Between all of them they convinced me to continue, we took the brake of the second bike, we put it on the first one losing a lot of time, Benito overtook me, very caught of time and we decided to continue. And there I found the sensations of the beginning again: my bike, my brake and everything was fine. We went to zone 3 where my brake had broken the first time and well, there was only one secured for right-handers especially.

In zone 4 they took away the impossible exit so everything was fine except for a step that was very left-handed that I missed a pedal but well, I took it out with one foot and Benito at 0 as it was an area that suited him very well. Vincent did a 4 if I’m not mistaken and from there we went to zone 5 which had two quite difficult steps which was to go up some wooden letters.

The first one was like bouncing in the middle of a cue that came out and jumping up and it was so close that I touched the pedal, I was already 1 and the next step I think I was already going with the all or nothing mentality. That last step I was the only one who took it out and we went to zone 6. The point was that if Benito made 5 and I made 0 we would draw, I think, but even so, even if we had drawn, I would have lost by time. The area was very difficult and I had a very big pass at the end that I arrived determined to push.

Benito put one foot down the middle in a pyramid of tubes and the last jump he hung and took his foot out, but he did 5 sticking his foot out because it was a very difficult belay. Here I would like to make a stop because I have read that in that area you could make a lollipop to make a 1 instead of a 5 and I would like to know which lollipop it was. Because Benito made the 5 by putting his foot down, not shooting at anything. In this last area everything was great but the last flight was a bounce that for 20″ was too much because they cut the space a lot.

The right-handers threw him out of a tube on the left and Benito from the right, no one did. Then came a ramp with a tube that wrapped it up. I threw it 3 times, went up, fell to the side and so on 2 times. The third one I climbed and stood in the last pass with 2:25 and dead. Even so, everyone made sure of that step and I threw it at him even though I knew that I had lost the World Cup. I got to sheet metal but well, I think that if I hadn’t messed it up like I did, having to throw it at everything 5 times and arriving dead, that step would have come out. But hey, lie along the way and that’s what it is.

TW: What do you think about what is being talked about and the comments that have been read alluding to you?

mustieles_uci2012AM: About the comments that I have been able to see, I don’t want to enter into any controversy because it seems absurd to me since we are all friends, but what I have been able to see is that we are not friends. You can’t pretend to excuse yourself in the 5 that the controls put on me because they put fives on all of us. Doubtful for me, doubtful for you and even dubious for the control itself but it’s a 5 and they put it on you in a World Cup that happened to all of us.

Nobody makes excuses here and I just say what happened to me, if the bike thing hadn’t happened to me I don’t know if I would have won, I honestly think it was my day. I’ve also read about a step that only he tried and they gave him a 5. It was a step that o You jumped the arrow or it was impossible to do it And that’s what happened as well as the pirula in zone 6 that I don’t understand, I just think it can refer to the last step that the first lap I didn’t reach and the second I threw at him and I fell to him as I said.

Although what I really have to say, although it hasn’t been bad for me, is that you can’t talk about if I haven’t checked my bike or if I’ve ridden new things.

First of all, pricking a hose and the oil leaking out can happen to anyone And that the whole plate of a prototype that you have been carrying since October is ripped off, well, yes, surely if the production had been there it would not have happened to me but those are things that can happen and that it is not in my power to control them as well as if you puncture or if the chain comes out, it is not an excuse it is what it is, The mechanic comes into play and it’s called luck.

TW: You on your bike for this World Cup, what did you change how it was set up, etc?

AB: I changed practically everything,new lants, hubs, cranks, bottom bracket, pedals… But he punctured the hose and I can’t do anything there. My bike was new and I know that my bike is the best bike in the world.

What it is It’s my fault that I didn’t change the brake on the first bike instead of riding the second. But when you’re in a World Cup with an hour and a half of time, a lot of people you can’t get through… You don’t see that possibility, you see it easier to change bikes, but once the second one broke, there was only that one left.

musti_europeo2TW:  Of course, because you may have thought that if you had changed the brake instead of using the second one, you could have won the World Cup.

AM: Yes. But as I say, it is what it is, they are decisions in the race, with pressure. We all made mistakes, but at the time you think that’s for the best. No one could think that the support was going to break.

TW: You had a very big progression and maybe I was the one who had the most numbers to win the world championship although this has happened… Do you have more motivation now for the world cup?

AM: Yes. This is clearly being very hard for me. I’m not saying that I lost the World Championship because of the mechanics, but I did lose the anger and desire of the first two sections… That vanished. And when I broke the second bike… That hasn’t happened to me in my life. Then people valued me, I didn’t win the World Cup but I’m very happy with what I did and people recognized me later. They acknowledged that they had lost a lot of options because of bikes, but it is what it is.

TW: Of course you have to appreciate that having these problems that you tell us about being 3 and a half feet away is a very good result.

AM: Exactly, that’s what my girlfriend, my parents and everyone tells me. Being 3 feet away with everything that’s happened to you…

TW: Well, you still have the World Cup, if you win it in case it happens you could say that it is a good season or you would have changed the European and World Cup for the World Cup.

abel_400_2AB: Let’s see about the titles, it’s called titulitis and it’s good for sponsors, but my real satisfaction is the progression and the training I’m having. Every time I make more progress and I prove it to myself that it is the important thing even if it is not reflected in results. This year is a year of transition, a lot of things have changed and I see that all this is going better.

I’m not going to change anything, what’s coming is faced and that’s it, I’ve won the European Championship, great, and I’ve lost the World Cup, so that’s what it is. Everyone told me that I had lost because of the mechanics and not to be sad. That’s precisely why I’m sad, if I had felt that they had beaten me for being much better than me, like Benito in Antwerp, who gave us a review, then great.

Or Vincent in Vall Disere, but in situations like this you don’t think you’ve been beaten, you think you’ve been unlucky. And continuing with that mania of this is the best or the worst, who dictates that, the World Cup, the World Cup, the European Championship… Because if we start counting by evidence won, we don’t know.

What is clear to me is that the best rider in the world is Gilles Coustellier and I thank him for the exhibition he gave us in the World Championship because it really was an exhibition and I thank him for being an inspiration for me and for being my idol. What he did in the World Cup is to show that he is the best in the world by far so the best in the world is not called Ros, Hermance or Mustieles, his name is Gilles and he showed it on the street.

We all have to strive to become like him. Not going into what you can do with 20 or 26, but what Gilles has in his head competing is incredible. For me, who has been in many races and world championships, seeing a rider who gives you goosebumps is something to be thankful for. I hope it continues for many years and I think or see it very difficult, although I see it possible to get there. Gilles is making a total before and after.

TW: Man, it’s also clear that you’re very young and you’ve shown a lot this year. Injured and unable to brake, you come second in the nationals, you run just after surgery and you almost won that World Cup race, two bikes broke and 3 feet in a World Cup… It’s clear that you can get there if you keep working.

AM: Yes, I do know that I can become a good driver, but today humility is ahead of you you have to have your feet on the ground and know where you are. I don’t want to get into any argument but looking at who is the best really 20 or 26, the best trial rider, that’s Gilles. In 20″ between us, I wouldn’t dare to say who is better because we are evenly matched.

TW: There’s an idea that it’s not what it used to be that the relationship has changed, what’s your view of Benito?

abel_mustieles_480_2AM: Benito is a legend, that’s clear. He has won 9 world championships, Benito has already made history in trial. It’s true that we don’t get along like we used to. I guess that’s what the competition has, the rival brands… But you have to keep your feet on the ground, Benito is a legend, but I know I’ve been very unlucky this year. This World Cup there has been a difference, we are all given 5 doubtful but what has happened to me has not happened to anyone.

TW: After that you have the World Cup and the Koxx Days, how do you face this final part of the season?

AM: No, this weekend I’m going to the Trial Pro Series organized by Event Performance, which I consider to be very well put together competitions and I couldn’t attend them because of the injury. I’ll go to this one, because that’s what I talked to Gilles. If people care about setting up things like that, you have to attend. I’m running this one for sure and I hope to be able to run the next one too.

It’s true that it’s good for me, because I want to run, I have something inside me that makes me want to run. Not to get rid of the thorn because I’ll have it all my life, but hey. I’ll have it like I told you because I had that mechanical problem, it wasn’t my fault, but that’s it.

TW: The good thing is that you know that there are a lot of people supporting you, including us, who know that we value the work of this season regardless of the results.

AM: Yes, I know and I appreciate it very much, in fact there in Austria people were already approaching me and acknowledging what had happened and my work and those people and those people who follow me are always the people who make me very happy even if I am a little disappointed. I have to admit that it has given me a motivation that is the greatest of my life and I have to use this for good so, as I said on Facebook, I thank Austria for this motivation. If I trained this winter, next coming I will train twice as much.

TW: The pity that has come at a time of progression.

AM: Yes, it’s been like whiplash. Everything was very nice, everything was perfect, I felt great and suddenly bam! But you have to look at the good and the motivation. It’s going to be 2 or 3 bad days and we’ll have to think about something else.

TW: If you want to thank   someone or mention something.

AM: Yes, first of all to you for supporting me and for this quick interview, to everyone who was with me and those who were not like my girlfriend who could not be there but is my greatest motivation in life. Others who couldn’t be there like my coach Jesús Otero who I owe everything this last year, to my physio Jose and my family, to Cesar, to Rafa Tibau, Carles for always being there and being a friend of 10, to Kenny for motivating me and as I said to everyone who was there and with a slap on the wrist they helped me to push forward.

Text and interview: Álvaro López

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