After Jacky Durand, Rik Verbrugghe, Sebastien Joly and many other (most french-speaking) guys, time for another "rider of the week" in both the excellent "Velo-Club du Net" and the "Daily Peloton": Cofidis' Nico Mattan.
The Belgian was interviewed twice (first excluisvely about his career, later he was asked a few more things concerning his private life. Both interviews are available in the links at the bottom of the page) and on Thursday evening (CET) he became the "main star" of a chat who took place in the Velo-Club's chatroom. For the ones who missed this unique opportunity, here are the most important questions asked to Mattan, and the man's answers of course.
VC = Velo-Club chatters; NM = Nico Mattan
VC : Which is your favorite race ?
NM : Paris-Roubaix
VC : Are you having a go at the World Cup Overall next year ?
NM : Why not ? I think I may get a Top 10 spot in each one-day Classic
VC : Was your exclusion from the Belgian team for the Worlds a big blow to you ?
NM : Yes, I was really disappointed.
VC : What are your main targets for 2003 ?
NM : To win an important Classic.
VC : Do you think Frank (VDB of course) will get back to the high level of the past ? And why ?
NM : And why not ? He's ready for everything. I know him well.
VC : What message would you deliver to young riders ?
NM : I'd tell'em not to be in a hurry to turn professional. There are too many 20-year-old pro riders now.
VC : What do you think of Mèdèric Clain ?
NM : He's a very good teammate.
VC : Are MBK bikes good ones ?
NM : They are among the best ones I've ever ridden.
VC : Which is your favorite climb ?
NM : Mont Ventoux is not that bad to me but ... well ... favorite climbs ? Please gimme some cobbled roads !!
VC : Who are the best riders of the moment in your opinion ?
NM : Museeuw for one-day races. Armstrong for the tours.
VC : Who are you used to train with ?
NM : Thierry Masschelin, Jo Planckaert, Chris Peers, Nico Eeckhout
VC : Are you going to be in great from at the start of the season ?
NM : No. I want to be in top shape a bit later, in the period going from Paris-Nice to LBL
VC : What do you think of Robert Sassone ?
NM : He has got the skills needed to become an excellent Classic rider and a good sprinter
VC : Tell us about you early season program
NM : I'll make my debut at GP Marseillaise, followed by Etoile de Besseges
VC : And later ?
NM : I'll tak part in the Italian races in Liguria
VC : When are yo going to retire from cycling ?
NM : I don't know yet. I think I'll be riding for three more years at least.
VC : How's your build-up for the 2003 season ?
NM : I resumed training on November 7, working on my muscles thrice a week, and doing cyclo-cross twice. That was until the end of November at least. Later I started racing on the road for three times a week (with sessions going from two to three and a half hours) and working on muscle building as many times. I'll continue this way until January 10.
VC : Which kind of music do you listen to ?
NM : I like black music: Destiny's Child and but also Matmatah (a French band)
VC : How is the environment at Cofidis ?
NM : Not bad. We are more or less the same team as last year, so we know each other well.
VC : Have you ever raced the Tro Bro-Leon ? Or do you think you can do it some day ?
NM : Sure. Why not ? It's quite similar to Paris-Roubaix after all !
VC : How are you going to spend your Holiday season ?
NM : I don't know yet. I usually stay with my family at both Christmas and New Year's Day, and I think it will the same this year too.
VC : What do you think of Davide Moncoutié and his racing style ?
NM : The guy is super. And I like his style.
VC : How many km. have you raced since you resumed training ?
NM : I don't know, as I didn't calculate. I think some 2000 kilometres anyway
VC : Does a rider like you usually gain a lot of weight during the winter months ?
NM : I usually gain 4-5 kg. during the winter.
VC : When shall we have a chance to see the Cofidis's brand new jersey ? And you, have you already seen it ? What's your opinion on it ?
NM : The jersey is at my home. It's quite similar to last year's but even nicer and ... more white than in the past.
VC : In your opinion, who will be the future number 1 riders in the World ?
NM : Well, I thinks the usual names, they change: the Bettinis, Dekkers and such ...
VC : What's your opinion on the future of Belgian cycling ?
NM : I believe that some good youngsters are coming : Boonen ...James Vanlandschoot ...
VC : And what about the future of international cycling ? And the French one?
NM : Well, France has got excellent young riders such as Sylvain Chavanel. As for international cycling, the future might be Dekker, Bartoli, and - why not ? VDB
VC : Are you interested in taking part in exotic races such as Tour of Qatar, as a way to prepare for the season ?
NM : Not too much. I'm afraid of getting any disease. I prefer more traditional contests.
VC : What do you think of the Velo-Club du Net site ?
NM : It's a great site. I come here every day. Here and to Cyclingnews.
VC : What do you think of next year's World Championships ? Does the route suit your skills ?
NM : I think so. The Hamilton course is good for a one-day Classic racer, and I think that, if in good shape, I may do well over there
VC : You know Frank (VDB) well. What is his morale after the "accident" ?
NM : It wasn't an accident. He just drank 5 or 6 glasses of red wine ... He loves wine as much as I do ... and got busted. The boy has got no chance at all. True that sometimes he looks like he's in search for misadventures, but I believe in him and think he can come back and do well in 2003.