Interview with Sergi Llongueras: “The World Cup was decided in the last zone”

Sergi Llongueras is a great story of overcoming with a happy ending, where sacrifice, perseverance and work are elements that have always been very present. Sergi suffered a major knee injury and a serious accident that almost cost him his life. However, this bitterness contrasts with the title of World Champion that he currently wears on his 26″ bike.

Sergi Llongueras, official rider of the young brand Comas TRIAL, has just been proclaimed world champion in the highest 26″ category of UCI Trial.
“The truth is, there’s no secret, just hard work day in and day out, believing in yourself and trusting the process.”
After Sergi Llongueras, pilot Comas Trial, won the most important title of his entire sporting career, we have gone to Òrrius, a small town in the Maresme to get to know Sergi a little more and find out his feelings after being the first Spaniard to be proclaimed 26″ world champion in the 26″ Trial bike after 15 years and the second in history.

You’ve just achieved something amazing, how do you feel? Have you had time to assimilate it?
I have literally just fulfilled the dream of my life, I feel happier than ever especially because I have shown myself that it could be done, it has been a very hard year in which I have had to work a lot, there have been many moments in which I have doubted myself but having finished the year on a high has given me a lot of confidence and motivation to continue improving and go Here’s to more in 2020! No, I think that until I have my rainbow jersey with my name and my sponsors on it, I’m not going to fully assimilate it.
You’re the second Spaniard to win an elite World Cup in 26.” The first was Dani Comas 15 years ago. What does this mean for you?
It’s a great honor for me. When I started doing trials, the 26″ category almost didn’t exist in Spain and the fact that there was a world champion was not even thought of. For me to have achieved this is something incredible, the goal was very difficult but year after year I have been getting closer until I have achieved it. That Dani Comas was the first is something very special because he is the one who is sponsoring me now, so part of this title is also thanks to him.

You had knee surgery at the beginning of the year and you ended up as world champion, how do you achieve this?
The truth is, there’s no secret, just hard work day in and day out, believing in yourself and trusting the process. This is something I’ve read on many sites and it’s said a lot, but it’s much easier said than applied. This year I’ve applied it and I’ve proven it to be totally true. It has been a very hard year in which until 2 weeks before the world championship I have not felt at the level enough to win a world championship, all the previous months have been very stressful because I saw that I did not arrive in time for the most important race of the year but I had no other option but to trust in all the work I was doing.
Now you are 100% recovered from your knee?
The knee process is very slow and still not 100%, this has been the 4th operation in 8 years and I have only had 10 months of recovery. I still notice some discomfort but the doctors have told me that they are normal and that with time they will disappear, the knee works well and luckily these discomforts do not prevent me from making any movement on the bike. Even so, I’m working a lot under the bike so that these discomforts are reduced as soon as possible and I’m already seeing results.

We saw that you qualified 3rd in the semi-finals and then you won in the final, did you have the same feelings? What changed in the final?
The truth is that they were totally different sensations, in the semifinals I felt a lot of pressure to be at the world championship and only have one opportunity to enter the top 6 in the world. I started with a pretty bad first lap, I felt insecure and tense but luckily I was able to recover it in the last two laps and qualify 3rd. In the final it was totally different, I noticed how all the work of the year paid off at the right time, I had my body and mind 100% focused on what I was going to do and things went perfectly.
After leading in the first three zones you had a major mistake in zone 4 failing in the first step and scoring 0 points, what happened?
The truth is that it was a mistake that almost cost me the World Cup, I had a moment of lack of concentration and I threw it in the wrong way and without being 100% convinced. He was leading with a 50-point lead over the second and was cut to 10. I could have decided the world championship in that area but far from this, everything was decided in the last one and anything could happen in the top three. I had a lot of pressure because I knew I had to make the maximum score possible, I scored 50 points and finally it was enough to get the win.
With this victory you have managed to take the title away from Jack Carthy, who had won consecutively the previous three years and was the big favorite this year. Did you expect it?
Jack really is an outstanding rider and he shows it in every competition with an incredible level, even so, with my second position last year I saw that if I hadn’t made two small mistakes totally avoidable I could have won it. This gave me a lot of motivation to keep working because I saw that it was not something unattainable. This year my mentality was totally different, I was mentally aware that I had the level to be world champion and from the warm-up I managed to get into his level of winning mentality, I knew that I was going to give everything to win regardless of who my rival was.
In the UCI live broadcast you saw an incredible level of zones, do you think it was adequate for a world championship final?
Yes, the areas were very demanding, there were very varied passages, they were very long and there was even an area of water. A lot of work had to be done to finish them and I think this put on a great show. Compared to other years, the scores of all the drivers were quite a bit lower, so the level has gone up and I think this is a good thing.

It’s been three years since the UCI changed the scoring system for international competitions, how exactly does it work?
This regulation consists of each zone having 6 sections, which are worth 10 points each, so if you do what was previously a 0, you now score 60 points. If you put one foot on the ground you don’t add the 10 points of this section but you can continue to add in the following ones and you can only follow the zone when you reach 5 feet, fall or run out of time which is 2 minutes. In my opinion this system is much better than the previous one, much fairer because it reflects more the riding in the zone, every step counts, it is more understandable for the public because if you pass the clean section it adds up, otherwise it doesn’t. It is also a good way to prevent the drivers from belaying and in this way you enjoy the competition much more since everyone is going to throw everything at you and it is much more likely that the best will win.
After finishing the year as world champion, how do you face next year?
¡Winning this world championship has given me a lot of motivation for 2020! I feel that this has been the first competition where I have been able to show my real level and what my place is in international competitions, so if there are no more injuries and with a good season I know that I can be at the top throughout the year and this is the main goal.

Are you going to change anything in your workouts?
Regarding the physical training with Jesus, my coach, we are doing a progressive work over several years and every year we change things that can only be changed because we have worked on certain things last season so yes, there are going to be changes to improve the physique one or several points compared to this year. Regarding the technical training I continue with the help of Ferran Escudero, for example this year I have seen that I have to learn the two types of pedaling to be a much more complete rider in all kinds of areas and next season I am going to focus on this.

Where do you normally train? Do you have a lot of places in your area?
I am lucky enough to live in one of the best places to practice trials in the world, there are really many trialparks and natural areas in Catalonia and especially in the area of Maresme and Vallés. In addition, the weather is perfect and in winter many international riders come from all over Europe to train here, this is also an advantage because during the year I can do many more training sessions with high-level people. I have my own Trialpark in Òrrius, my town, and I usually train there but I combine it with natural training in La Roca and Llavaneras and training in other bike parks such as Vallgorguina, La Poma or Trial Evolution.
What’s your favorite training site?
Every summer we go with my friends and sports partners to train for several days in a mountain refuge in Cerdanya to the Malniu lake, it is an incredible place with infinite stones where you train at altitude and in summer the temperature is perfect. That’s my favorite site by far.

This has been the second year that you have raced with the colours of Comas, Dani Comas’ brand, and it seems that it is giving very good results, do you feel comfortable in Team Comas?
Absolutely, from the beginning the relationship with Dani and with the brand has been very professional and this motivates a lot as a rider since you see that they take all your work seriously and have the same desire as you to achieve your sporting goals. I am proud to give the first world title to Comas and I hope it will be the first of many more.

You had a very bad experience this summer together with Eloi Palau, the 20″ rider of the Comas team, where you could have endangered your lives. What happened? Are you fully recovered from the scare?
Without a doubt it was the worst experience of my life, after the world cup in Val Di Sole (Italy) we went to visit the Presena glacier at 3000m high, there we had the bad luck to be exploded by an explosive from the First World War. Eloi was the most affected since he was closer, I only had cuts on my face, some wounds on my body and they had to remove some particles that stuck in my eyes. The worst moments were while we were waiting for the rescue helicopter, Eloi was badly injured, I didn’t really know what he could have but I knew I had to cheer him up as much as I could and that we had to get out of this.
Eloi Palau Biketrial
How is Eloi now?
Eloi is already much better, what is most affected is his hand and it is what prevents him from returning to training with the trial bike. We still don’t know when he will be able to return because it depends a lot on the evolution of the hand, but I hope it will be soon.

Do you follow the Trial GP World Championship? Who is your favorite driver?
Yes, I don’t follow him very much but I follow the top riders on social media and find out the most important things. My favourite rider is Toni Bou, I think that people like me who also compete at the highest level can appreciate much more how incredible everything he has achieved so far is and how difficult it is to stay as long as the number 1.

Have you ever thought about switching to motorcycle trials?
Never, since I was a child I have had a lot of passion for bike trials and motorcycles have never caught my attention. Still, I think they are very similar sports and should be two more united worlds.
Eloi Palau Sergi Llongueras Biketrial

Do you practice more sports than trials?
Yes, as complementary training I do swimming, running, road cycling, MTB and I go to the gym. Also in the off-season I love snowboarding, surfing and cliff diving. I’m passionate about sports and it’s what I enjoy the most.

You are studying Mechanical Engineering, is it very complicated to combine it with high-level sport?
Yes, right now it’s one of the things I’m struggling with the most. Unfortunately, in our country, the study grants for high-level athletes are minimal and you have to do the same as other students having much less than half the time of your classmates. So far I’ve had to do it by extending my degree and taking one or two subjects per term and for the moment I’m going to continue like this until I finish. Right now my motivation is 100% focused on sport but I think that the fact of continuing to study enriches me and gives me value as a person, this is the main reason why I continue studying.

Thank you so much for your time and we wish you all the best for 2020.
Thank you!
Equipment and accessories for the trial bike


Did you like it? Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp
Share on email