Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Baudron reflects on "mixed season"

Young Frenchman Karl Baudron has been one of the mainstays of the Fundación Euskadi's sub-23 outfit Naturgas Energía the last year. The 19-year-old, who teamed up with the red and whites ahead of last season along with countrymen Loïc Chetout and Damien Garcia, has placed numerous times inside the top ten in races throughout the season, and on the look of it seems like a future Orbea rider in the making.

With the season almost at an end, Basque Cycling News talked to the young hopeful after the conclusion of the Tour du Piémont Pyrénéen. Get to know Karl, the son of Pascal, who's been kind in sharing his photos of the team with this site, below.

Question: You've got a lot of top ten placings to your name this season. How do you evaluate your season: better or worse than expected?

Answer: Yes, I've been in the top ten a few times this year, but so far it's been a mixed season. My performances have been very irregular throughout the season, and I've constantly alternated between feeling good and not feeling that good. I've also taken part in several stage races (Vuelta a Bidasoa, Vuelta a Navarrra, Tour du Piémont Pyrénéen), but for some reason I've never felt good in those races and abandoned all of them.

Q: And the season of the team? At the time being, Naturgas have only accumulated two victories.

A: Though we "only" have two wins, I think the team's season has been rather decent. We've often been up there, but we've lacked that little bit extra that would have enabled us to win more frequently. We're also in the fight for the overall triumph in the Torneo Lehendakari (the Basque Cycling Federation's sub-23 race series), both for the individual rankings, which Jon Larrinaga led for a long time, and the team rankings, where we've been alternating with Caja Rural in being the top ranked team.

Q: What races remain for you this year?

A: There are races for me to do until the end of September. At the end of the month, if the form's good, I might also head to the Vuelta a Cantabria.

Q: Will you be with Naturgas Energía next year, or do you hope to join Orbea?

A: I'll stay at Naturgas next year. With the lack of consistency I've shown in the one-day races as well as in the stage races this year, it's clear I need to progress if I am to hope of joining Orbea one day.

Q: What's the atmosphere like in the team?

A: The mood's good, everyone gets along very well, and that's why winning the Torneo Lehendakari's team ranking would be a big reward for the team.

Q: For people who don't know you that well, what kind of rider would you say you are?

A: I'd say I'm an all-rounder or a puncheur.

Q: You're born in Angoulême, right? How come you're riding for Naturgas, a Basque team?

A: Yes, I was born in Angoulême. I came to Pau six years ago along with my father for professional reasons. After that I started riding in Euskadi. The Fundación Euskadi contacted me and, though I had other offers, joining the Fundación was the most appealing. Today I have no regrets; it's been a very enriching experience!

Q: More and more French riders are riding with Naturgas, Euskaltel... Did you know Loïc Chetout and Damien Garcia prior to signing with the team?

A: Yeah, we knew each other before joining the team as we all came from the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region. It facilitated our integration I think.

Q: I suppose you've talked a bit with Miguel Madariaga. What's he like?

A: Of course. Madariaga is a really super guy. He's very accessible for everyone and he treats all the teams in the Fundación Euskadi the same. The foundation is like a big family, and Miguel Madariaga is our father!

Q: You're 19 now, and as such it might be a bit early to speak of it, but what are your biggest dreams as a cyclist?

A: Obviously it's a bit far ahead, but my biggest goal is certainly to one day win a stage in the Tour de France. For the French, the Tour's a big party and a very important race. Every French rider dreams of shining at that race. It's the race we've always dreamed of.

Q: Are you going to school as well as being a cyclist?

A: Yes, and that was an important factor in my joining Naturgas. For the Fundación, studying is an essential part of forming a cyclist. The Fundación's goal is not only to educate cyclists, but also to educate men. For this reason the Naturgas riders study at the same time as riding. Even at Orbea, some guys continue to study. I'm studying STAPS (which roughly translates to Sciences and Techniques of Sports and Physical Activities) and will embark on my third year of Sports Management.

Q: Who's the best rider you've ever raced with and against?

A: The best rider I've raced with is Loïc Herbreteau (former French elite national champion). I raced with him when I was a junior at VS Lescar and learned me a lot. More recently, last year I raced with excellent riders like Fernando Grijalba (now at Caja Rural), Carlos Barbero (Orbea) and Efrén Carazo (Burgos 2016 - Castilla y León). It's more difficult to pick the best riders I've raced against. Moreno Hofland, Bryan Coquard, Olivier Le Gac, Pierre Henri Le Cuisinier and Arkaitz Durán are all very talented riders.

Photo: Pascal Baudron

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