A few words with Telenet-Fidea’s leader, Tom Meeusen
The Belgian rider and leader of the Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team, Tom Meeusen, is ready to tackle the 2014-2015 Cyclocross season on his SRAM Force CX1 equipped bikes. Based on his performances during the past season at the World Cups, Superprestige series and Bpost Bank Trofees, Tom should naturally claim a lot of podiums and victories. At the Telenet-Fidea Team presentation mid-September we had a nice discussion with Tom and asked him a few questions. Check it out:
How did you first get into cyclocross?
I started with BMX. My father was a moto-crosser but I was not allowed to have a motocycle because it was too dangerous for me. I got only a BMX bike. At that time BMX was not an Olympic sport and it seemed that there was no future in it. Cyclocross was and is really popular in Belgium and in my region. It was a really small step for me to switch to Cyclocross. Since I’m 10 years old, every week, I’m riding Cyclocross.
What do you like best about Cyclocross?
The tracks are diverse and fun, not always nice, but the atmosphere along the race course is unbelievable. A lot of people and spectators, everybody knows the good riders. It’s nice to race close to your home town and close to people. It’s a nice sport that I enjoy a lot.
You also race MTB and on the Road?
It’s pretty difficult because if you are too good on the road you become too slow for Cyclocross. Your speed goes away. If you are too good in MTB races you lose energy for the winter. I always do a combination of both but I’m never in my top shape on the road or for MTB. It’s mentally hard for a competitor to not be good enough to really compete.
Some ex-top Cyclocross athletes moved pretty successfully to Road racing, such as Lars Boom and Zdenek Stybar, is it something you have in mind for the future?
Actually I don’t like road racing. I think it’s too dangerous. If you look at all the bad crashed on the road, for example what happened to Stybar at the Enco Tour this year, I don’t want that much risk. Cyclocross is much safer, worst case you break your collarbone or your nose.
Belgium is at the heart of Cyclocross racing and the competition level is very high, is there a Belgian secret behind it? Is there a special way of racing and approaching Cyclocross?
If you live in the mountains you take a mountain bike. For example in France or Switzerland. In Belgium, we don’t have mountains we have a lot of sand, great woods with single trails which are perfect for Cyclocross. During winter the temperatures are nice enough to ride. We have good training facilities. For all those reasons a lot of people get into Cyclocross which allow us the have a big density of riders. It’s part of our culture.
What are your goals this year?
It’s always difficult to say. Saying I will win this race or be in the top 3… I just want to be able to compete for the victory every time I race. This year I will race about 40 races and I want to compete for the victory 40 times.
This year the World Championships are in Tabor. Does the course suit you?
It’s not my favorite course. It doesn’t suit me perfectly. In two years the Worlds will be in Zolder, it’s much more for me.
What are your favorite racing conditions?
I normally like icy and snowy course. I don’t have the same engine as Stybar or Nys so I need to play with my technic and explosive qualities.
Last year you were one of the few selected riders to test and ride our 1x drivetrain, the SRAM Force CX1. What do you think about it?
It’s smoother and much more quiet. In the woods I don’t hear the chainring and the chain touching the chainstay. I also use it on my MTB bike. Really good when it’s muddy. Bikes can get really dirty; the front derailleur was always stuck with grass and mud. So we had to change bike. Now there is not front derailleur and there is more space so we don’t have to change bike that often.
Do you like working/wrenching on your bike?
I’m not really good at it and I have the chance to have my father for that. I should do more my self. Maybe in the future.
What do you do besides cyclocross racing?
I like all outdoor sports. For example skiing and walking in the woods with my dog where I can clear my head. During winter it’s always very busy so when I can walk in the woods it’s always relaxing and beneficial.
Thanks for taking the time to discuss with us. We wish you the best for this season!