Tempier chats about how he started his career as a mountain biker
This year, French rider Stéphane Tempier joins the Trek Factory Racing cross country squad. Tempier had a strong 2019 season where he came third at World Championships and has big goals for 2020, an Olympic year.
Q: Where did you grow up and begin mountain biking?
Tempier: I grew up and still live near the French Alps in southern France near Italy. My hometown is Gap. It is a great place to train for mountain biking and I also like to alpine ski in the winter.
Q: What sparked your interest in cycling as a kid?
Tempier: As a seven-year-old my first road bike was a yellow and blue Peugeot. I took it to cycling school in the supermarket parking lot where instructors taught me about balance and maneuvering the bike. It showed me how fun biking can be and helped me have a positive feeling about being on a bike.
Q: What were your first experiences in off-road racing?
Tempier: I tried a mountain bike competition for young riders when I was nine. I won and I was very happy. I started racing twice a month around my region, doing races in places like Marseille and French Riviera. At first, I loved downhill courses which is what I raced until I was about 14 years old. But then I decided to switch to cross country and it became my specialty. I tried for junior World Champion in 2004 and came second. It is was a great moment for me. Then, I became national champion in 2007. It was my first French jersey and was very important for me and for my career.
Q: What are your big goals for 2020?
Tempier: The Tokyo Olympics are a big, big goal for me. It is possible that this will be my final Olympics so I really want to do well. I rode for the first time in Japan at the Olympic test ride last October. It was warm and humid which is different than France, so I will need to train in a humid climate. I also want to focus on winning World Cup races and the World Championship. I am excited to ride Trek bikes this year. The Procaliber and Supercaliber are fantastic bikes, I think they are the best bikes for cross country riding.
Q: What does a typical training day look like for you?
Tempier: I start riding around 9 or 9:30, biking in the mountains near my home. I go home for lunch. I often make pasta with olive oil and parmesan because it is easy to prepare. Some days I go for another ride in the afternoon, but not always. Life has changed since we had our baby in July. Now, sometimes I look after him in the afternoon. We both like to listen to Daft Punk.
Q: If you were selecting a French wine for a nice dinner, which would you pick?
Tempier: The most important thing for a nice dinner is good company. To pair with that, I suggest a Chateauneuf du Pape or Côtes du Rhône.