Chavanel using cyclo-cross to kick start his training

Sylvain Chavanel is using cyclo-cross racing to kick start his winter training as he prepares for his debut with the IAM Cycling team in 2014.

The 34-year-old French rider has revealed he plans to ride 12 cyclo-cross races this winter and will combine his racing with family time, as his nine-year-old son also races cyclo-cross for the first time.

Chavanel ended his season and rode for Omega Pharma-Quick Step at the Chrono des Nations on October 20 and has avoided a traditional long break from cycling by going off-road.

“I used to take five or six weeks off the bike but with age I have to keep going. I now take micro-breaks and keep fit by playing tennis or going running,” he told his local French newspaper La Nouvelle Republique.

“I did a lot cyclo-cross at the beginning of my career and got back into it last year. My body has become a diesel engine with age and takes time to power up. In cyclo-cross, you’re ‘à bloc’ from the start and that means you work at a high pace.”

Chavanel finished eighth last weekend in Buxerolles in a race won by fellow road professional John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale). He will ride race in Vouneuil-sous-Biard this weekend, where the regional title is up for grabs.

“I hope to ride a dozen races during the winter. My forms not great and I’ll be racing in Vouneuil to work on it. But I like to compete and so why not aim for the title? My son Baptiste, who is nine in December, is also making his racing debut.”

Chavanel said he will begin serious training on the road later in November.

“I’m going to start doing four hour rides from November 20th, with blocks of three days,” he said.

His first race in IAM Cycling colours is expected to be the Grand Prix La Marseillaise in the south of France on February 2.

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.