Mickael Bourgain Interview



22nd December 2011: World Sprint Champion Gregory Bauge and European Champion Kevin Sireau make competition for the limited number of French places at the London 2012 Olympics incredibly tough. However one of the World’s greatest ever sprinters, Mickael Bourgain, is not even contemplating non-selection.

After claiming the Bronze medal in the Team Sprint at the 2004 Athens Olympics, Silver in the same event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Mickael has unfinished business at the Olympic Games and is aiming to continue to the progress up the podium by winning Gold in 2012.

“The Olympic Games is why we all cycle, my two medals are my greatest successes and I want to experience this fabulous competition again”

You can never write off any nation prior to the event, however for the past two seasons the Team Sprint has been about France and Germany.

Mickael Bourgain


Both nations seem to be pulling away from their rivals as they continue to raise the level of Team Sprinting and progress towards an inevitable London showdown.

“Every team is working very hard so the level is very high, it will not be easy to win, but it is possible.”

The 2012 Olympic Team Sprint Champions are likely to have to record a time close to a 42.500s to ensure Gold, based on their World Record breaking performances at the recent Cali World Cup Germany are clearly leading the way so how do the French plan to make improvements to beat the German team?

“Germany has a very good team with the faster first lap and their strength in depth is fantastic. There is no plan, we just need to be at our best and we will beat them, however we can not forget the British and Australian teams”

Mickael Bourgain


Germany’s strength in-depth is amazing, but the French sprinters are also very strong. With Mickael, Bauge, Sireau, Francois Pervis and Michael D’Almeida, France’s line-up is arguably just as impressive as Germany’s Rene Enders, Robert Forstemann, Max Levy and Stefan Nimke.

With so many talented riders, Germany have clearly benefitted from their UCI Professional Track Cycling Team, Erdgas 2012, that enables them to enter two Team Sprint line-ups at each World Cup. Until 2011, Cofidis were the French equivalent of Erdgas 2012 and they regularly fielded two Team Sprint line-ups at each World Cup. Coaches would then be able to experiment with each line-up and give first year Seniors the chance to gain experience.

With Mickael now regularly missing out on the Team Sprint as France rotate their squad, is he frustrated that Cofidis pulled out of Track Cycling?

“Yes, to be able to ride with two teams is a good thing for nations who have the available resources, but it is not essential, we can work with only the national team so it is not really a problem”

With defending World Sprint Champion Gregory Bauge almost guaranteed France’s sprint entry and Kevin Sireau joining him in the Team Sprint, Bourgain is most likely to be left battling for the third Team Sprint spot in addition to the Keirin ride.

“Everybody is watching Gregory Baugé, he is three times World Champion, he is the best sprinter in the World at the moment. It’s not just the Senior five, even the younger riders like Kevin Guillot have a chance, he has the potential to be a very good rider. He trains with me, and he is very strong at standing starts and will surely have a huge future.”

With Keirin specialists Francois Pervis and Michael D’Almeida also vying for the same position it will be interesting to see how each rider progresses in the build-up to the Melbourne World Championships next April.

With so much competition within the French team for a place at the 2012 Olympics, how do you rate your chances in each of the events, Sprint, Keirin and Team Sprint?

“We have a lot of very good riders, and for that, the selection is difficult. I obviously want to do all of the events, but I do not think that will be possible. I am a realistic medal contender for each event so I will work hard at each event and let the coaches decide”

Mickael Bourgain


“Bauge is clearly the best sprinter in the world, but the Team Sprint and Keirin are wide open”

“France has not dominated the Keirin like the Sprint due to the event being more of an uncertainty. There is never a rider who can easily dominate because you do not know what is going to happen in every race.”

“With Six riders on the Track, you can not have tactics, a mistake means you easily lose and in the Semi-Final and Final you only have one chance to get it right. Unfortunately we have been very unlucky not to get it right in the Keirin.”

“You can not train specifically for each different Sprint event as there are no differences, apart from the Standing Starts in the Team Sprint, I just have to be at my best and ready to take each chance”.

How important is Road training to Track Cyclists?

“It’s not essential, but for me I do need periods with good training on the road mainly because I like it, and it’s a pleasure to ride my bike. However if you have a good aerobic capacity built up over the years, I think Road training is just better for Recovery sessions mixed in with two weekly power based Gym sessions and daily Track sessions.”

Mickael Bourgain


2009 saw Mickael spend a lot of time Road training after a slow and painful recovery from an operation on his Acromioclavicular joint (AC Joint), the junction between the acromion (part of the scapula that forms the highest point of the shoulder) and the clavicle.

The injury is extremely common with cyclists, however Bourgain's difficulty in recovering from the injury and subsequent operation led him to make the very sensible decision to join AVC Aix-en-Provence for six months road training.

“This was one of my biggest challenges as the comeback was very difficult, after my injury, due to so much Road training, I wanted to try the Omnium, but I missed the Sprint too much”

“I really like Road riding and am very impressed by what Theo Bos has done, and it’s a great experience for him, but for me I think it is too late to make a permanent change, I will be 32 after the Olympics.”

Will you continue to ride after London 2012?

“I don’t know it depends on my results. I really like my job, but sometimes it’s very difficult, especially for my body. I will see after Olympics.”

A rider of Mickael’s calibre missing out on the 2012 Olympics is unthinkable, the four time Team Sprint World Champion is one of France’s biggest assets and if results go his way he will surely get the chance he deserves to continue his podium progression from 2004 and 2008 to make it Gold in 2012.


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