Ciclismo-Internacional opened a new section (U23 and junior report) in which the aim is to shed light on the evolution of some of the world’s most talented up-and-coming youngsters. We will try to in light our readers about the future stars of the sport, where their come from, their dreams, strengths or weaknesses on the bike etc.
Today is the turn of Kevin Ledanois…
At what age did you start with cycling?
I played soccer until I was 13 years old, even though I really enjoyed it, and it was beneficial for my life; I decided to change my focus towards cycling, as my father was a professional between 1989 and 2001, which pushed and inspired me to give cycling a chance as well and invest all my time and attention into it.
How has your off-season been so far? Have you been up to any activities/traveling? How is your state compared to last year? Are you in shape?
This winter I have been more serious than the year before. I have gone out to a few parties with my friends but nothing more. I prefer to spend my time with them and my family in the off-season because it’s very complicated to see them when the season really kicks off. However, I am in shape, more so than in 2013, last year I finished the season as the consequence of a crash, and it was very hard being at home without the opportunity to do much fiscally and just take care of myself.
You signed a contract with Bretagne-Séché for the coming year. What are your goals for 2015? Do you have some races or objectives you target especially?
For now, I don’t know my program yet. My primary objective is to help my teammates and try to learn as much as possible about the professional game. However, I will definitely try to grab the chances, there might present themselves in whatever race I am doing. I really want to work hard and have an even better year than 2014. I have won one professional race and stayed with the best during the Artic Race of Norway. Therefore, in 2015 I was to present myself in the same way and win some races. It won’t be easy I need to work hard and dedicated myself, but I am more than up for that.
You were an intern with Bretagne-Séché this year. What is your thoughts on the team and its philosophy?
Because I was an intern with the team last year, I saw that Bretagne Séché Environnement is not a huge powerful team like Sky, BMC or Movistar. There are, for example, only three foreign riders on the roster, the team has a really excellent spirit, and nobody thinks they are better than others. The more experienced riders are always ready and willing to give advice and share experiences. I think it’s a very pleasant team to start my provisional journey, to learn the craft and what it means to be a professional cyclist.
How would you describe yourself as a rider? You seem very complete, what are your strengths and weaknesses?
I consider myself a very complete rider. I really like races such as Paris-Roubaix and Liege Bastonge Liege. However, I am also fond of racing in the mountains like I proved with my decent placing in Tour des Pays de Savoie and my victory at Tour du Jura with the French national U23 squad. So yeah, I think I am a complete rider, who can stay in the front at the classics and in the races with some climbing as well.
How important is your father in respect to your career? Does he share his experience with you?
My father is very important for me; It’s him who trains me for example. It’s not always easy but it how I prefer it. When I am out at races, and he is as well he demands I call him up on the telephone and tell everything about my race, my sensations and then finally he is ready with some tactical advice. I have received a ton of experience because of my father, and I consider him an essential cornerstone in my career.
I am old enough to remember your father racing for GAN. He was a good climber. This year you showed strong climbing in Savoie. How do you feel in the high mountains?
Yeah my father was a really good climber and he first and foremost demonstrated that with his victory in 1997 on top of Sierra Nevada. In my case, I don’t know if I can be with the best riders in the high mountains. I have only done two or three races with heavy climbing, so I am still a little undecided. However, I like that kind of racing a lot and with time and hard work, I definitely think I can improve in this area as well.
Have you meet your new colleges yet? Are you familiar with some of them already?
I have not had the opportunity to meet all my new teammates yet, because our first training camp is held this coming week (23 al 28 de November) but the ones, I know are very sympathic and nice guys, and as I said before more than willing to give advice and help a young guy like myself.
Will you go on any training camp this year?
I don’t know the destination of all our training camps at this specific moment. I think he will have one in the South of France or maybe in Spain at Costa Brava. However, I am not completely sure at this moment.
I read Thor Hushovd praised you after your performance in Norway; it must be very motivating to have seasoned veterans take notice of you?
Yeah, when Thor Hushovd praised me in Norway, it was very motivating for me and even more so when we had the chance to talk together during the third stage. Thor is a great rider and competitor and when a guy like him says good things and praises you in front of the press its highly motivating.
Another person who has been praising you is Pascal Carlot. How has it been to work together with him?
Pascal Carlot was my sports director through the entire 2014. I really liked working together with him and Jimmy Casper (ex-rider at Ag2r). They both filled me with excellent advice, and you know what? Every year CC Nogent sur Oise produces a rider who goes on to sign with a professional team. Guys like Arnaud Demare, Stephane Rossetto ect. When rider reach that level I think a lot of, it comes down to the great work and passion Pascal Carlot shows at CC Nogent sur Oise.
You won a beautiful victory this year in Tour de Jura. What that the highlight of your season? Did you also suffer some disappointments?
My victory at Tour du Jura was not the highlight of my year, but it was my only victory that’s true. So maybe it counts in that aspect. My greatest disappointment was the fact i only won one race in 2014; I think I had the chance and opportunity to win at least five or six. However, my biggest disappointment came at the World Championships; I could have won in Ponferrada, but I found myself at the front and all alone too early, and that was it was never going to be possibly.
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