In 2021, I still lived with my parents in La Reide. I was fed, housed, bleached, it was easy (laughter) . Now I am with my girlfriend in an apartment in Battice. If I can do cycling 100%, I have to take more care of myself: shopping, laundry, food preparation. Actually a normal life (smile) ! When it comes to sports, I’m much more flexible than when I went to school. I work as a freelancer. I get a program for a week and then I arrange it as I want, especially according to deadlines (physiotherapist or others). I’m gaining on training quality. I don’t have 30 minutes, I’m going to ride with a free spirit. It is also ideal for recovery that you do not have to work or study at the same time. In any case, it’s great at the moment: I wake up every day knowing that I’m going to do what I love and that it’s my job. If that’s not the case, it would be hard for me to continue the competition, honestly. Well, then you have to find a happy medium and not just ride and spend the rest of the day on the couch, on my phone.
How do you get a job when you’re not on a bike?
I follow an online language course through Adeps. I try to sign up for an hour a day. I also like to go out in the fresh air. It relaxes my legs by making me think of something else.
How does your girlfriend handle the situation? Professional cyclist, it’s life apart …
I think it’s okay. When I’m at the apartment, I can do my part. It is also a luxury that I have with my situation. It’s harder when I’m not there for a week or two, she finds herself here, sometimes on vacation and then there’s nothing you can do: when the bike goes, you’re in a good mood, confident, open. But when it’s less good, I need to be a little alone, I’m more annoyed. You need to realize that.
I should be extended by two years in Orbea: the team’s goal is to bring us to the Paris Olympics.
If your performance on the bike was already good, you wanted to get a degree in physical education, which you finally received in September 2020.
When I was in school, I never thought I would ever get a professional cycling contract. When I finished, I even sent a few resumes to work directly with. Then I had a full-time contract with Adeps. I would work without it.
Do you plan to leave the world of cycling once, work in education?
At first I thought so … but now I realize it’s going to be complicated. When I remember my lessons, I think that if I had to find myself in front of the class, I would be a little lost. If I have the opportunity to drive for a few more years, I don’t see myself knocking on the school door when I’m almost 30 years old, without experience. The further I go, the more I say I would like to work in cycling, perhaps in a role like Brice Scholtes in the federation (Editor’s note: Sprimontois is the technical director there) .
In the first three rounds of the World Cup this season, you finished three times in the top 15. Did you expect to reach such a good level in 25 years?
I don’t know … I’ve never done things to be a pro, to be with the best. I told myself it wasn’t for me. I have progressed from year to year. It is always a surprise on my part to be on this level. I don’t know how far I can go, but I’m already happy with what I’ve achieved.
Money is on the verge of the last thing that interests me: it’s not what keeps me alive at all.
In 2024, the Olympic Games will take place in Paris, almost at home for the Belgians. Is the real ambition to be there after missing Tokyo?
I would be lying if I said I didn’t think I didn’t care. I should be extended by two years in Orbea soon: the team’s goal is to get us to the Paris Olympics, yes. It’s great to tell me that my dream comes true on my plate: until then, they’ll pay me to ride, I’ll have good gear, and so on. At the moment, I may have my place there, but we are only in 2022. It will be played on the pedal. Being at the Olympics would change my life. It would be the pinnacle of something.
When you are Pierre de Froidmont, can you earn a decent amount of mountain biking?
I have two incomes this year. Full time with Adeps, as a traditional employee. Then I get one, a little lower, from Orbe. Together, I’m doing pretty well, I make better money than if I was in teaching. I can pay the expenses and postpone them – not thousands of euros, but that’s enough. I realize that not all young people have this chance. Given my results, I hope to negotiate a slightly higher contract, although I will never earn as much as a very good rider. Without Adeps in support, I can go home to my parents (laughter) . But in the end, money is the last thing that interests me: it’s not what keeps me alive.