Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jonathan Lastra interview

While the young Basque hopefuls at Euskaltel might have failed to shine on the road this year, there's an unpolished diamond shining ever brighter on the cyclo-cross circuit. Jonathan Lastra is the man in question; Egoitz Murgoitio's team-mate who's made a name for himself internationally in the sub-23 ranks this year. Only a few months into the season, and the 19-year-old has already racked up a healthy amount of podium placings: second in the sub-23s in Baden and Neerpelt, fourth in Besancon, and three times a victor in his age group domestically.

If he continues to progress at the rate he's been doing the last couple of years, it won't be long before the Bilbaíno is vying for the wins in the Superprestigio races alongside the likes of his Hirumet-Taldea team-mate Murgoitio, Aitor Hernández and Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga. Speaking before the weekend, Lastra made time for a small chat with Basque Cycling News to talk 'cross, his big goal of the season and the state of the domestic 'cross scene.

Question: First off: you're competing on the international sub-23 level for the first time this year and have, among other results, finished 22nd in Baden, 30th in Tabor and 34th in Plzen. Are you pleased? Has it gone better than expected?

Answer: Yes, this year I'm doing a calendar much more international than last year. The first race was the one in Baden, Switzerland, and I was quite surprised by the result: I didn't expect to finish that high up. However, the results in the World Cups haven't been up to expectations. I thought I would be able to be a bit further ahead, but various mishaps in both races saw to it that I wasn't able to show my true level.

Q: Besides the level of racing, what's the main differences between riding in Spain and Belgium, the Czech Republic etc.?

A: There are big differences. Especially in Spain; the circuits are different, the times of the races and the way that the races are disputed.

Q: Will you compete much in Spain this year, or for the majority abroad?

A: We'll ride all the World Cups and a few other races at international level. Domestically, we'll do the Superprestigio series, the international ones and the national champs.

Q: What's your strong point in cyclo-cross? Your technique, your strength...?

A: I'd say my strengths are running with the bike on my shoulder and the very heavy, muddy circuits. I don't consider myself technically bad, but I have a lot to work on if I want to have a good technique.

Q: What do you think of the state of Spanish cyclo-cross at the moment? Better or worse than in the past?

A: I think the average level in Spain has gone up, but there's still much to be improved on. Also, it has to be said that, like David Seco did in his time, Egoitz Murgoitio is performing very well internationally.

While he's won the sub-23 classification in all three Spanish races he's entered this season, the three top-six placings among the elites are just as, if not more, impressive. 

Q: What's your main goal this year?

A: This year it's the national championships. It slipped away from me last year because of a fall when I was going solo towards the win. Besides that, I'd like to get international experience and continue to progress in every aspect.

Q: What's your proudest moment on the bike?

A: I'd say that has to be the day I won the national championships in the cadete category. Though, winning important races are always good memories.

Q: Who'd your idol and source of inspiration in cyclo-cross?

A: I've always liked Sven Nys. He's the best in every way. Although I've only seen him at the start line, I've been able to ride against him on a couple of occasions.

Q: Throughout 2012, you've competed and captured impressive results in various road races, the MTB championships etc. Would it be an option for you to compete more in these disciplines in the future, or is it just the mud for you?

A: I would never say never or close doors, but, right now, I'm not thinking about other disciplines. I prefer to stay in 'cross.

Q: What does a normal training week for you include? Do you do a lot of road riding, or more with your 'cross bike?

A: It depends on what part of the season I'm in, whether I do more or less high-intensity rides. I ride my road bike almost every single day alone, while I do one or two rides a week on my 'cross bike.

Q: Besides training and competing, are you studying as well?

A: Yes, I'm studying to be a Senior Technician in Physical and Sport Activities.

Next up for Lastra and Murgoitio is today's World Cup race in Koksijde.

1 comment:

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