Brustenga: A Catalan in love with the Classics

Marc is one of the four neo-professional riders who the Team has decided to bet on for the future

Trek España interviewed the young Spanish rider and, for their courtesy, we report the text in English. If you want to read the original one in Spanish, click here:

February 2nd was a day to remember for Marc Brustenga. It was the opening stage of the 73rd edition of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, an event which coincided with the professional debut of this young cyclist from Barcelona (Santa Eulàlia de Ronçana, 1999).

Impassioned by the Classics, Marc Brustenga is seeing one of his dreams come true. One which began with his first race, when he was only 5 years old and riding a MTB bike, having signed up without the knowledge of his parents. After informing them, they agreed to let him participate. And he won. Not only the race, but also his heart, divided with running and soccer. Happily integrated into his new Trek-Segafredo family, this apprentice is facing the season with enthusiasm and infinite desire to accumulate experience.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2022: Marc's debut as professional rider (©SprintCycling)

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana was your first race as a professional. How did you feel?
I’m still enjoying the moment, it was a dream! It was an experience I will never forget.

What would you highlight from your contribution?
Both the team and I were not sure how far I would go, because we knew my previous level, but being professional is different, we couldn’t know much about my performance. So, I am very happy with my efforts and the Team’s results. I did my best to help my teammates in the positioning for the last 5 or 10 kilometers so that they could get the best results. Matteo Moschetti’s win on stage 4 was a great result, even though with one kilometer to go Markus Hoelgaard and I came off on a corner. However, up to that point we were doing the job very well. I hope to contribute a lot more and learn a lot more.

How did you finish the race, physically and emotionally?
Surprisingly, better than I expected. I finished tired, of course, but I thought I would finish more exhausted. In terms of mood, I was very happy and enjoyed it a lot. I told my parents that I needed a week to assimilate the work, both physically and psychologically. I hope to live many more experiences like these, but the first time is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

At UAE Tour Brustenga took his first top ten result as professional (©SprintCycling)

Luca Guercilena has pointed out that you are able to read race tactics, a sign of an unusual maturity at your age. How do you acquire that? Do you train or is it something innate?
I don’t know, to be honest. I think it’s about learning through trial and error. By making mistakes, I was able to grow. I spent three years in France and there I learned a lot about racing and the way of racing. I found myself in situations that I gradually learnt from. I had to compete and try. More or less, like everything else in life.

You have a pretty unique profile as versatile rider. You are a sprinter but you also climb well and perform well on flat terrain. In addition, you have a predilection for the Classics, something uncommon among Spanish cyclists. Tell us about your qualities.
I’m a fast rider with a good top speed. But, if I’m in good enough form, I can pass mid-mountains climbs – not the big mountain passes – whilst keeping the top speed that allows me to be competitive for the win in a reduced sprint finish. I love the Classics, especially Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde van Vlaanderen. This is why I decided to move to France. Now that I’ve reached my dream of being a pro, I dream to race Paris-Roubaix. Some people hate it, but I’m one of the ones who loves it.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2022: Marc on his home roads (©SprintCycling)

In the first block of races for 2022 there’s Volta a Catalunya. What does it mean for you to race this centenary race, the fourth oldest in the world?
It’s my home race and I’m very excited about it. It’s the race that I’ve seen since I was a child, that passed in front of my house and that I always saw live in the last stage in Montjuïc (Barcelona). It doesn’t fit with my characteristics, to be honest, but I’ll go with the aim to do my best for the team. I’m sure it will be a great experience I will remember for all my life. Racing at home is the most beautiful thing.

What did mean for you signing for Trek-Segafredo and competing in the WorldTour?
A dream and a challenge, because in the end I’m here because I’m competitive. If you wear this jersey and you compete at the highest level, you can’t be relaxed or thinking “whatever happens, happens”. If I’ve reached this point, it’s because I like to do my best. Representing this team means that and getting the best results when the time comes.

What does it take to be a professional cyclist?
To enjoy cycling! That’s the first thing. But then, you need discipline and clear ideas. You need to know what you want. If you don’t enjoy it, no matter how much you train things won’t go as you expected. In my experience, you have to wake up every day with the desire to go out and to train, dedicating yourself 100%.