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Nico Mattan: interview part 2
By Celine Tytgadt
Date: 12/19/2002
Nico Mattan: interview part 2
On Velo


On Velo-club du net, every week is dedicated to a different rider.  So far, the riders at word were Laszlo Bodrogi, Rik Verbrugghe, Jacky Durand, Aurelien Clerc, Sebastien Joly and Christophe Agnolutto.  Today, we start the last series of special weeks on Velo-Club with two interviews with Nico Mattan about his career and personality and the chat transcripts of Thursday 9PM CET on Nicolas' site.  

Nico Mattan was always asociated with his friend Frank Vandenbroucke and in the beginning of Nico's career, he followed Frank around from team to team.  He was a great helper, but he was capable of more than that.  He proved this in finishing far ahead in the results on many occasions like 3rd in Gent Wevelgem 98 and 5th in the HEW Classic also in 1998.  In 2000, he even crosses the line in Plouay only at ten seconds from Bartoli in second place.  A silver medal opens the road for new possibilites.

But he doesn't only get podium places, he also won some very nice races, especially in 2001: the prologue of Paris-Nice, the 4 Days of De Panne overall, the GP Ouest France and the Giro del Piemonte.  But not only 2001 was a good year for him, also 2002, especially in the Tour de France where he showed himself in two mountain stages.  On the Mont Ventoux and on the Hautacam he showed he can sure climb and this was confirmed in the mountain classification by ending in 5th position.

What if you would only have 24 hours to live?

A big party with my family, my friends, all people I know.  i like being around people, talking, discussing.

What do people call you?

VDB always calls me "keuns", which mean rabit in the dialect of Western Flanders where I come from.  He always said that, but in the peloton, nobody knows this.

What do you like best about yourself?

I'm a bon-vivant, I like life and after all my cardiac problems we start living another way.  I like living.

What's your favorite part of the day?

I like eating so the time of the meals, with a good glass of red wine and my small family.

What's the moment you like least then?

I don't really have a moment like that in particular.  I won't say getting up in the morning because when you wake up, you need to be happy to be alive (laughs)

What has life thought you?

Life is so short that you need to enjoy everything, all small things in life.  You always need to fight and don't stay in the sofa.

What would you have liked to learn at school and would have been very usefull to you?

I learned English in school..On the language side, I speak well French, Italian and English so it's always an advantage over other riders who don't speak any foreigh languages.

What's your favorite film/book/CD?

I don't really watch many movies.  I can't stay in my sofa to watch a movie....Never, it's a waste of time!  I might maybe read some magazines on show-biss....On the CD-side, I like R&B.  I also like the group Matmatah and I even went to see them because they performed at a festival not from from my house.

What's your favorite country or city?

My dream is Africa and I'm looking at organising training camps for cyclists in South-Africa.  We even started our own society, we're five with me and Frank Vandenbroucke: so I would say South-Africa in particular.

What's your weak spot?

Eating because I'm not really a person who watches what he eats.  I like having dinner with a nice glass of wine and a bit of bread with butter.  When I have lots of space, I might eat an entire baguette.

What's your favorite expression/sentence?

I don't really have a favorite expression in particular, I'm not someone who talks a lot.  I call everybody "maat" (buddy in English).

A fan follows you around, flattered or angry?

It wouldn't bother me too much.  I know some fans who follow me around in Belgium but I haven't seen anyone who would follow me to the South of France.  It doesn't annoy me at all.

A fan creates an internet site who has been dedicated to you without your authorisation: flattered or angry?

I have my own site, so he can do what he wants as long as their no shananigans in it.

You receive a great present from someone that you don't really like, do you accept it or not?

Yes, you need to accept everything if someone offers you a gift.  If they want to give it to me, I take it even if I don't appreciate it, I keep it and I put it in my garage, no problem!

Keep on coming back for the chat transcript and be sure to visit Nicolas' site !

Taken from velo-club 

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