MERCI JULIEN…TODAY THE CHAMPION PAID A VISIT TO SIDI - Sidi & Julien Absalon, 20 years of fantastic victories together.

Today Sidi celebrated their special guest, Julien Absalon. The transalpine champion made a stop in Marca Trevigiana  for a visit to Sidi’s general headquarters in Maser, on his way to the Val di Sole, in Trentino, where the mountain bike XC & DH World Cup (as well as the 4X World Championships ) will be touching down from July 6th to the 8th.

Here is a man who needs no introductions. He’s got 2 Olympic gold medals, 5 World titles, 7 World Cups and a record 33 victories in World Cup races...and much more. Julien Absalon is synonymous with mountain biking. He has enjoyed an extraordinary career, spanning more than twenty years of great victories, and Sidi shoes have always been on his feet.

Then this year, about two months ago, on the eve of the round 2 of the World Cup, Julien Absalon called it quits.

Was this a hard decision?
Of course, it’s never easy to say enough, especially when you like what you’re doing. However I felt that the time had come for me to stop. I have no regrets; throughout my career I have been winning and I have done everything I had to. And that’s fine. Now it’s time for me to pursue new projects, which of course will be centred around mountain biking, which is my life.

What are you doing?
This year I started an adventure with my very own team, Team Absolute Absalon. Once I retired as an athlete, I threw myself wholeheartedly into my new role as team manager. I want to bring all of my experience to the table, to build a team which will be highly professional yet maintain a familial dimension that will carry younger generations of athletes forward to increasingly higher levels. Furthermore, I am developing my role as a brand ambassador for the companies that have always supported me, including Sidi, which has consistently played a fundamental part. And then I’m going to keep riding… I can’t live without it, it makes me feel good, and it helps me to think, especially now that I can ride without the pressure involved in pursuing racing goals.

Let’s get back to your extraordinary career. You’ve won it all, but which victories would you put on a podium?
Well, the top spot would definitely have to be shared between the two gold medals at Athens and Beijing. There’s nothing like it; a victory at the Olympics always becomes a part of sports legend. Then in second place I would put my latest World title, which I won in Norway in 2014, 7 years after my previous World Championship; it was tremendously gratifying. And in third place I would put the two victories I scored at the World Cup in La Bresse, which was home turf for me.

All these important victories with Sidi by your side…
Exactly; I’ve been riding with Sidi since I was 18 years old, and this brand has been with me for my entire professional career. I’ve always been greatly impressed by their shoes, but beyond this there is a special relationship based on friendship and mutual respect with Rosella Signori and her father, Dino. The entire Sidi staff has always been exceptional with me, forever available and attentive to my demands. In our sport it is often the details that make the difference, and feet are an essential element in the overall economy of performance.  In any case, I am sure that we will continue to collaborate, developing new ideas and projects together in the future.

Do you have any fond memories tied to Sidi?
It was fantastic when, after my victory in the Athens Olympics, Sidi made a special pair of gold shoes just for me, and they still mean the world to me. After all, in that same year, with those same shoes, I won the World Championship at Les Gets. I also fondly remember a photo shoot for a Sidi ad that I was a part of with two great champions, Alberto Contador and Samuel Sanchez… we had a blast that day. Then of course, there is today’s party here at Sidi, this cake with the image of my last World Championship victory was a lovely surprise. It’s almost a shame to have to ruin it by slicing it and eating it…