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Mathieu Toulouse Interview

July 13, 2008 – Pedal caught up with Mathieu Toulouse (Can) Maxxis after he rode to his first NMBS victory yesterday in Wyndham, NY – his career-best result to date. We asked him to tell us about the big win.

Tell us about yesterday’s race.
Mathieu Toulouse: I haven’t been racing all NMBS events this year. In the XC, I only had one finish (sixth in Phoenix) out of the two races I competed in (double flatted in Fontana). Because of this, I got a pretty bad call-up for the XC race here in Wyndham. I got caught in a bottleneck early on and lost contact with the leaders right away. I spent most of the race chasing back to the front and only caught the leading duo – Adam Craig (USA) Giant and Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Trek-VW – a third of the way into the last lap. I rode with them for a minute or two and forced the pace right away.

Bishop got dropped and I got a 15-20s gap on Adam [Craig]. The lap finished with a long descent and Adam caught me at the very bottom. From there it was about 500m to the finish. I out-sprinted him and won by a few inches.

Do you feel your recent road efforts at Beauce and the Road Nationals made a difference?
MT: Very much. I definitely got some good fitness out of it. It also helped me, because I raced most of the XC as a TT, trying to pace myself back to the front without over-extending myself. I guess it also helped my sprinting… hehe.

What other factors do you think led to your great ride?
MT: Well, the temperature was hot and humid, which is the way it’s been in Quebec the last little while. My body was probably well prepared to cope with that.

Does this give you more confidence heading towards the National MTB Championships? What are your goals there?
MT: For sure. It is a great boost in confidence. I have not had the most satisfying season up ’till now and it feels good to finally put it all together. My goals at nationals are to win. I will have my work cut out for me with Geoff [Kabush], Max [Plaxton] and Derek [Zandstra] attending. But, you know, nationals is really a race where everybody is gunning for the win. At the end of the day, they only hand out one maple leaf jersey.

What’s the plan for the rest of the season?
MT: Nationals next week, then the two Quebec MTB World Cups. After that, we’ll have to see. Probably a few more road races in August.

Would you consider this one of the best races of your career?
MT: For sure one of the best. I’d have to say my best ride ever was probably in Sainte-Anne a few years back. I was riding in eighth in the World Cup, pretty comfortably, and I had a major mechanical. One of those woulda, shoulda, coulda’s , though. But on paper, this NMBS win is my best result.

How did you celebrate?
MT: I’m kind of saving the celebrating for when I get back home. There is so much going on at the races with a team like ours (XC, slalom, DH, short track, Super D…) that we didn’t really get a chance to celebrate properly.

Congrats on your win and good luck with the rest of your season.
MT: Thanks.

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Mathieu Toulouse Interview

September 13, 2007 (Montreal, QC) – In January, the newly-formed EVA/Devinci road team announced that Mathieu Toulouse was riding for them. The accomplished mountain biker, who rides for Maxxis, would thus be performing double-duty and racing for finishlines in both disciplines in 2007 as much as his MTB schedule would permit. Maxxis, a tire company, is also one of EVA/Devinci’s supplier sponsors. Toulouse, 31, has been on fire recently winning Quebec’s 2007 TT and road titles and having success at other races as well. We caught up with him to talk about his recent performances.

Things have been going well for you. Tell us about your recent successes.
Mathieu Toulouse: Yes things have been going pretty good. I was recently at the Green Mountain Stage Race and won the first of four stages there. It was an 8-mile (12.8km) hill climb. I rode the last 2-3 km solo. When you’re fit, things tend to go well. (Note: Toulouse ended up in 3rd place overall.)

And that followed your back-to-back victories on the previous weekend at the Quebec provincial TT and road race titles (Aug. 25-26).
MT: Yes things went well for me at the Quebec championships. Before that I finished third at the Louis Garneau Montreal-to-Quebec City Classic race (on Aug. 19). This all followed a slow start to my season where I was doing the usual training. I had two MTB podiums at Canada MTB Cups in Bromont and Tremblant this May and was aiming to be in top shape for the MTB World Cup XC in St-Felicien (June 30-July 1st) but it didn’t work out well for me (Toulouse DNF’d).

Then I flatted at the XC race at the Pan Am Games in Brazil on July 14 but probably would have finished with silver (Toulouse recovered to finish 6th). While in Brazil I also caught a case of la turista (upset stomach) and wasn’t in top form. But I started feeling pretty good after I came back from the MTB Nationals. Note: (Toulouse DNF’d at the MTB Nationals on July 21 but finished in the top ten at both the short track and XC events at the National Mountain Bike Series in Snowmass, CO on Aug. 10-12. In road racing, he was on the podium in 2nd place at the 132km Saint-Raymond de Portneuf GP on May 27, and again at the Quebec TTT Championships in Sainte-Marthe on Aug. 2 where EVA-Devinci placed 2nd.)

You are best known as a mountain biker, but have been racking up some impressive road bike victories lately. Are you considering a career move?
MT: A lot of people have been asking me if I’m going to switch. Road cycling is still new to me and it’s not as predictable as mountain biking. There’s a lot to learn with strategies and watching the other riders and knowing when to make your move. But my mountain bike résumé is still more impressive than my road one. I doubt that any road team wants to pay me what I’m getting paid to race my mountain bike. So, no, I’m not planning to switch to road racing.

In terms of road racing, EVA/Devinci coach, Alexandre Lavallée, has been a great help to me. But also a coach sitting in a car following the race doesn’t always know everything that’s going on in the race. By radio, he was advising me against making a break at the Quebec road race championships (Aug. 26), but I went for it anyway some 27km out and won.

Is it difficult to combine the two sports?
MT: I find that the two sports are a good complement for each other. And I’m planning to ride a full cyclocross season this year (Note: Toulouse was the Quebec cyclocross champion in 2006).

What are your other plans for the rest of the season?
MT: I want to make the Canadian MTB team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I have been on the national team since 1997, but it’ll be a pretty short list of MTB riders going to Beijing. As part of the selection process this year I was hoping to make the top-16 at the MTB World Cup at Mont Ste-Anne, but only finished 37th there. However, I still have until June 2008 to qualify. (Note: Toulouse has represented Canada at the MTB World Championships, the Pan Am Games, and MTB World Cups, but never at the Olympics.)

When you’re not riding, do you work as a lawyer?
MT: That’s partially true. I do have a law degree, but I don’t work in the field.

So your situation is not like 2007 Mardis Cyclistes winner François Laroche (Sleeman Clear TATV), who is a lawyer and works in a law office?
MT: No, I ride seriously and travel a lot to events outside of Quebec – I will be in Europe in two weeks. My training schedule does not permit me the time to do things other than biking.

Good luck with your goals and the rest of the season.
MT: Thanks

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Mathieu Toulouse Interview

October 21, 2006 – In an interview with Gilles Morneau of the Chaudiere Appalachian Regional Association of Quebec Mountain Biking, Mathieu Toulouse (Team Maxxis) recounts his 2006 season that was marred by a terrible case of hiccups but ended on a high note with his recent 2nd place finish at the Pan-American MTB Games in Camboriu, Brazil.

The official press release recounts how: “after a slow start, Toulouse built up speed to swallow his competitors, one after the other. He was only unable to catch the race winner, Colombian Hector Paez Leon, who placed sixth in the last world MTB Worlds. “Toulouse explained, “Given my terrible season, I didn’t have a great spot in the starting lineup, therefore I didn’t see what the Columbian was doing.”

To this remark, Morneau had some lively comments about the role of coach Michel LeBlanc.

Toulouse talked about the circuit in Brazil and how, “”¦the hills and descents were very steep. This allowed me, despite my poor starting position, to pass many other cyclists. I managed my race very well and could even say that, on my last lap, that I still had a lot of punch. For me, it was a perfect race,” concluded the 29-year-old cyclist from Montreal.

On the other hand Jérôme Sanfaçon, the team mechanic, saw things from a different perspective saying that the race was very disappointing and could not have been worse. The uphills required installing a granny gear that some cyclists didn’t even have on their bikes.

So what are some of the hazards of cycling in Brazil? Toulouse recounted how the team interpreter went for a test ride and had a bad crash after colliding with a giant iguana.

Toulouse also spoke highly of the Rotor Q-Rings which he is using, but could not quantify how much these improve his riding (Q-rings claim to help to minimize the time spent in the dead spot while pedaling).

For the complete story click here.

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