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The Home Life: Warren Barguil interview

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In our latest video chat, Arkea-Samsic’s charismatic climber talks throwing punches at Nairo Quintana, his fishing passion and Tour de France optimism

Photographs: Pauline Ballet


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The Home Life is our video interview series during these unprecedented times: quirky questions and positive vibes designed to reveal more about the person behind the professional cyclist.


This week, we caught up with Arkea-Samsic captain Warren Barguil, a two-time Tour de France stage winner and 2017 King of the Mountains.

Rouleur: Good afternoon, Warren, how are you?
Barguil: I’m good, I’m enjoying the sun at home in Brittany.

How have the last weeks been for you?
Normal, just training, enjoying time with my kid and my wife. The only thing that changed was not training outside, but I can do so on my home trainer.

I enjoy Zwift, I’ve been on it since my crash with a car in Spain in 2015. I spend a lot of time on there and know how it is. For sure, it’s helped a lot to do some hours on there; it’s funny, now everybody’s on Zwift and you can train with your team-mates and friends.

Have you had the chance to improve any skills around the house, building, cooking or whatever?
Cooking – I think I’m making too much cake or crepe! But outside, with my wife, we’ve tried to fix up our garden and the time is passing. It’s good we can be outside because it’s been three sunny weeks, which we’re not used to here.


I hear you have some energetic hobbies like roller blading and fishing. Can you do them at the moment?
Rollerblading, I can’t go out more than one k, I’m rolling next to my house. I can fish from home, but I was waiting for my canne à peche [fishing rod]. My friend gave it to me yesterday so I can go tomorrow.


I got into fishing a long time ago with my friend from junior racing. We started doing sea fishing from the rocks; now, he has a boat and we do it in the Atlantic.

And are you the best fisher in the peloton?
No, I don’t think so. It’s quite a high level in the bunch, I think Thibaut [Pinot] fishes – more in lakes than saltwater, which is totally different.

photo: Arkea-Samsic

Your third season with Arkea-Samsic is starting. There’s been a few changes, with Nacer Bouhanni and Nairo Quintana among several transfers. How was their initiation?
It was good, I’ve known Nacer for a long time. Often, we were in touch by messaging and still are. With Nairo, it’s a little bit different, I need to learn Spanish but I’m really motivated to do that – I’ve started the first season of Casa de Papel [the Netflix show Money Heist] in Spanish to do so.

I think it’s pretty good with Nairo, I don’t know him well, but I think we have the same values: he takes care of his family and for me, it’s the same.

And when new riders start [at a team], sometimes they have to sing a funny song or drink a special concoction of alcohol. Was there anything Nacer, Nairo and the others had to do this year?
We had a nice team meeting camp and some boxing training. I was training with Nairo and Nacer was against an actual boxer. We had a lot of fun. I’m not changing sport any time soon – and I will not fight Nacer either, that’s for sure!

When you started as a pro with Argos-Shimano in 2013, what was the initiation ceremony?
It was more like going out every night, four days à bloc, and seeing who could survive the whole night. It was nothing special, not trying to be drunk or anything like that, just enjoying the moment and having a good party.


The French champ during the 2019 Tour de France on the road to the Tourmalet / Picture by Zac Williams/SWpix.com

What’s your plan for the rest of the day?
I did 45 minutes on the rollers before breakfast this morning, then I ate with my wife and kid. Then she went to the shops to buy some food; I had my lunch, now I’m on the phone with you and I’ll do a second session of rollers.

We should finish with a few cycling questions: how have you approached this unprecedented break everyone in sport has to take at the moment?
I think it’s difficult for everybody but if you are healthy and okay, you just need to wait. It’s like a delayed plane – you can’t do anything except wait, and just hope the plane will come and you will fly.

Read: The Home Life with Kasia Niewiadoma, live from Girona

You don’t need to start being negative – enjoy the small moments of your life because if you are healthy, you can’t complain. We are at home, okay, it’s long [to wait], but you have the sun, your wife and kids.


Maybe there’s one positive – you might be one of the longest-serving champions of France in history as the race won’t be in June.
Yes, maybe it will not be in June but if it’s in July, maybe I’ll be the guy with the fewest race days in the French jersey. That’s not good!


And frankly, do you think we’ll see a Tour de France this summer?
It’s really what I hope, I think everybody in cycling does. I just hope we’ll have a Tour for economic reasons. In cycling, I think it’s really important.

 


 

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