At Home with Adrien Dailly

Sep 26, 2017
by Matt Wragg  




Adrien Dailly is something of an enigma in modern mountain bike racing. In a world where social media is ever-present in the lives of the top athletes, he eschews that side of the business almost completely. In interviews, he is quiet, not comfortable with the English language. Instead, he prefers to let his riding do the talking and with three race wins under his belt from his first season among the elites of the EWS, it's saying a lot right now. Yet if you watch him on track, to the unseasoned eye it almost looks like he is taking it easy, not really pushing. It's only when you step back and appreciate the speed and efficiency of it, the high consequence lines that virtually nobody else is even trying, you realise how impressive his riding truly is. If you are looking for a reference point, you need to look no further than his mentor, Nico Vouilloz, arguably the greatest male racer downhill has ever seen. He has learned from the best and with that context, his approach to the sport begins to make complete sense.

We headed over to his home in Nice, France to find out a little more about him.



At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.
At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.
At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.
At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.



It is hard not to be impressed with Adrien's story, at how mature he is already. Growing up in Paris there wasn't a lot of scope for riding mountain bikes, so it is something he came to as a teenager, borrowing bikes on his summer holidays in the Alps at 16. In that first summer, he entered his first races and, unsurprisingly was rather good at it. More than that, he found something he loved. So at just 17, he decided to follow his passion, leaving his family in Paris and moving down to Nice on his own so he could give it his all. While his apartment may be nice now, this isn't where he started in Nice, his first apartment was a tiny, run-down bedsit that he jokes about now, the nice flat only came with his success and help from his grandmother.



At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.
At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.



In that first year, he raced downhill, rubbing shoulders at the races with local racers like Loic Bruni and Loris Vergier. In his own words, he wasn't fast enough, although when you are up against those two, what he means by fast is probably relative. What is certain is that even at that young age he had a thorough understanding of his strengths and weaknesses, feeling that he couldn't hold that intensity of concentration for a 3–5-minute run. Instead, he turned his attention to enduro and during 2015 entered a couple of EWS events as a privateer in the under-21 category. It was those races that brought him to the attention of a certain Nico Vouilloz, who signed him to Lapierre for the 2016 EWS season.

At Nico's request, he stayed in the under-21 category, even though he showed throughout the season that he had the speed to mix it up at the very sharp end of the elite field. He had strong competition from Sebastian Claquin. After a few bad races at the start of the season, he had to win every race to claim the title from the undoubtedly talented Claquin. That pressure was precisely what Nico wanted him to experience before he moved up to the senior ranks.



At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.
At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.
At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.



Adrien has built a strong network around him in Nice. Aside from Vouilloz, he trains with Extrain, the coach that Loris works with, and who Loic worked with until this year, as well as other fast local athletes like Flo Nicolai and Olivier Giordanengo. With his facility just up the road in St. Andre de Roch, he can nip up there and use their tailor-made setup for his twice-weekly weight sessions.



At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.
At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.



On the technical side, he has Nico tuning his suspension and working with him to get the perfect setup. For the more everyday tasks, he works with Francois Dola, himself a former pro World Cup DH racer. As one of the partners in La Roue Libre, one of Nice's biggest bike shops, he is based just a couple of hundred metres down the road from Adrien. Grinning, he ducks into the back of the shop and fishes out an old photo from the 1994 Cap D'Ail World Cup. It's a podium photo, on the top step is French DH legend Francois Gachet, on the third step is Nico and there is Francois sandwiched between them on the second step. With that kind of experience around him, Adrien's rapid ascent to the sharp end of the results sheet becomes less surprising.


At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.
At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.
At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.
At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.

At home with Adrien Dailly. Photo by Matt Wragg.


It is easy to forget that Adrien is still only 21 years old, but he doesn't and that's why he has based himself in the city centre. He wants the nightlife and everything else around him. Yet Nice is a unique city, even from his city centre apartment, he can head out of the door on his bike and pedal up to some good trails—all in the classic South of France style with long, rocky straights and tight, awkward switchbacks. It's a recipe that seems to be working pretty well for him...


95 Comments

  • 103 9
 People, you are weird. I see so many posts of "I'd wish a life like that", who is actually holding your back not to have this type of living? If it's your physical disabilities or kids that is something hard to change, but in all other cases we live in a free world. If you have enough money for a dual suspension bike, you have also enough skills to change your living for whatever you want.
I worked for 5 years to make a good career, then left all shining startup offices and corporate bonuses for a work that allows me to ride trails in the morning. I earn less, but that's the life I like. Another step is to move to Europe to ride genuine mountains, and I'm working on it.
Come on, it's not that hard to find a job in a city near mountains, if you worth something.
  • 38 15
 Perhaps you haven't seen how much healthcare costs in america
  • 81 0
 Pull out early, keep living the dream.
  • 18 0
 I feel bad about myself after reading this article because, well, I realized I like the looks of a Lapierre...
  • 27 2
 @raditude: Really, its the healthcare thats holding you back?
  • 7 6
 @raditude: why live in America?
You know, you have Canada nearby, not mentioning that Germany seeks engineers.
  • 7 3
 @eugen-fried: Can't really just up and leave family. Besides, at this point the "kids" in their late teens/twenties are riding at levels I would never be able to achieve even if i spent my time 100% committed to riding. That would leave me paying for everything with money i wouldn't be making.
  • 18 1
 Damn. I always thought our mountains in BC were genuine. Shit. Frown
  • 1 1
 @brodoyouevenbike: “I'm talkin' fear, fear of missin' out on you and me”
  • 6 3
 @raditude: that means that you have different values in life, and it´s totally fine! So you have nothing to regret because you choose every day your family over your hobby, and I have no doubt that it is the right way to go.
BTW never mentioned riding professionaly. I'm still work my 40 hours a week as software developer, just don't go to the office every day, and if I do, I do my best to havea ride before.
  • 2 4
 @vikb: sorry bro, Canada is too far away from parrents, that live here. Didn't want to diminish BC or Rocky Mountains in any way.
  • 16 5
 @eugen-fried: well a lot of things are stopping people from becoming pro athletes, genetics aside. I'm quite sure you are getting in your own way yourself, otherwise who made you and will you destroy humanity? If it would be so easy children of psychologists or motivational speakers would be super humans. How come people quit racing?

Also, excuse me... what is an exemplary way of life and how does becoming a pro athelete, mountain biker in particular, go together with that? The actual dumb thing many of us do is idealize those folks which inevitably and consequently lowers our own self esteem in the face of another set of life priorities that we have set for ourselves and were set for us long time ago.

What kind of self and world unaware person could believe that if he delivers milk or designs washing machines, he is somehow lesser to an accomplished athlete? At some point each single one of us hates our jobs or lives. The key is to be able to appreciate it. To be able to feel accomplished at managing priorities.

I have a pro athlete in my family. A genuine pro roadie. I would not change with him.

Chin up

Cheers!
  • 3 1
 @raditude: Then leave America.
  • 4 1
 It is easy to go and "live the life" whit your mama/papa wallet. Good story but it is not the same when your fathers can´t send you out of home whit 17. Just sending a kid to the Alps 1 month is not cheap. But anyways if your determination to do X thing is strong enough it would come sooner or later.
  • 1 1
 @SlodownU: While I agree that there are always excuses, medical bills are certainly a quick way to derail your life. I'm an engineer and now make a very comfortable living, but it almost didn't end up that way . I broke my collarbone riding while I was in between jobs and just barely was still covered on my medical insurance. The 1 hour surgery would have been over $50,000 without insurance, which could have put any unprepared person in way over their head.
  • 3 2
 @eugen-fried I would like to know if you think a Palestinian from Gaza can live this life?
  • 2 4
 @abzillah: No. The same about Azerbaijani from Azerbaijan, Sudanese from Sudan, Vietnamese form Vietnam (all with certain exclusions). If you born in 3rd world country, you are fckd up.
BTW, I thought PB is about bikes, not politics.
  • 4 4
 @WAKIdesigns: I think we both read the comments section in a different way. What I think people dream of, is to have great trails nearby, the ability to pick up a bike and ride them for a few hours a day, nice comfy flat with a place to tinker your bikes and the chance to prepare well for competitions. All of above doesn't mean you have to be a professional athlete riding for a living. I can name you a lot of examples besides the 100% sport all the way: any remote working freelancer (programming, administration, SEO specialist, translator etc.), local business owner (family hotel, shop, cafe, bar, restaurant, barber, photographer). If you are more into industry, like machine engineering, you can do your best to fine a job somewhere with mountains nearby. Doctors are needed all around the globe, so just choose a village close to a mountain. The opportunities are there, you just have to be hungry for them.
  • 2 2
 @eugen-fried: Bejesus... you have some idealistsic view of reality I can tell you. I hope you can live up to what you are saying. I wish you that with all of my best intentions
  • 2 1
 @eugen-fried:

Also, pretty sure we're just going to be nuclear fall out here soon so. Maybe canada is a good idea.
  • 2 1
 I just want that Nespresso pod holder......

Otherwise I'm 100% happy with my life. I wouldn't be opposed to living in the south of France though... I enjoy France.
  • 2 2
 @Kenfire24:
Nespresso sucks, it's more of a marketing thing than a good coffee; get some real Italian espresso.
...now that we resolved the coffee issue you only have to worry about France!
  • 1 2
 @bikegreece: all of these machines suck both in taste and in how much caffeine they provide out of a shot. Nespresso is the worst of what I tried so far. It's just a sht coffee aroma. Nescafe Gusto is a bit better, yet I still need to use 3 capsules to get an effect of an average espresso. Call me a snob, but I got into Hario V60 and never looked back. Takes 5-6 minutes to make, is cheap, coffe tastes excellent (as long as you have acess to good medium roast coffee and a good grinder) and cleaning is limited to tossing filter into the bin and rinsing the cup with water. And that coffee is FKNG STRONG, and it tastes very well even after it gets cold. 200ml of my brew is like 0.5L Monster Energy.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: haha Hario V60 ... I just can't stop laughing. Coffee tastes like piss in a maker of this like, but that's just my personal opinion. With your V60 you drink an infusion not an expresso or a ristretto. And well Nespresso machine well they make expresso. Yes it's expensive and yes it's average when it comes to taste but it's a coffee and an expresso nonetheless.

So funny when non italians, non french talk about coffee. We have just jumped on the coffee gourmet wagon less than a decade ago and we already want to teach them what to do?

Still using a good old Bialetti with a decent grinder. And a Bialetti is a Mocha maker, not an expresso/ristretto maker. Expresso are for later in the day, Mocha is the one you need in the morning.
  • 1 0
 @Euskafreez: Oh Jesus... I feel little need to describe how I feel about 99% of things that come out of Moccha kettle and how I feel about prepping it and cleaning it. Italians can do good espresso, yes, depends which italians in which cafeteria (you know like with all thigns in the world - maybe women make better coffee, or black people? how would you like to generalize?), but yes by average you get decent espresso in Italy. I can't say it about stuff with milk added to it. Yes they are good at Cappucino, any idiot can boil milk so the foam goes to the top... Oh well the roastery/cafeteria from Gothenburg is in top 3 in the world. You enter an average coffee shop/ cafeteria here and you can buy coffee from around the world, roasted by one of the best if not the best in the world. Yes there is a bit too much medium and light roast bias here, but you can get absolutely superb dark roasts.

So, what could I know... do U even grind bro? Big Grin I'm sorry, this is Pinkbike, you are surely an expert, source your own coffee directly (perfect sun orientation, perfect altitude, perfect amount of rain - oh a blend off course... the perfect one). Then you roast it yourself and there's a perfectly maintained Slayer standing in your living room. I can't even imagine how accurate is your termometer, your kitchen weight, and that you use 3 different tampers. Do you have a mahogny shelf with cold brews too?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: haha man you could defo make something funny with "Do u even grind brah".

Sorry but we have too much charts for too much stuff those days. Maybe your cafeteria is world famous in ... Gothenburg but who knows.

I lived between France and Italy for years, it does not make me an expert but at least I know what a proper italian coffee tastes like. And man there is nothing like a good old Mocha made by a "Mamma" in a very old Bialetti. But I'm laughing my butt off when people from countries recently converted to coffee talk about it like connoisseur.
  • 1 0
 @Euskafreez: I'm no conneseur... I know a thing or two though. So I can tell what I like, my preference comes from certain range of experiences. Everyone has their own preferences, yea, too bad it often comes from trying very few options and having little understanding what makes them what they are. But that Nespresso thing is fkng ridiculous, MAINLY because there's so little caffeine in it. You get very little buzz for the buck. And I drink coffee mainly for functional reasons. It has to kick in. Therefore i have a crappy supermarket coffee at my house which I brew in my Bialetti, in case I am in a rush.

Oh and my favorite espresso in Italy and possibly in the world is served at Autogrill Wink
  • 1 0
 @bikegreece: say what you wish. I still dig it and I'm not throwing down for an actual espresso set up. So with that being said.....

I still want that nesoresso pod holder.
  • 44 6
 Two E-Bikes in the photos (grabs a beer, popcorn, and waits for the Pinkbike fireworks to start).
  • 22 12
 He also has a motorbike, so what? You can ride what you want. The primary problem with e-bikes is calling them bikes, nothing more.
  • 60 3
 Free ebike though...I take one for free and use solely for overtaking roadies with flipflops on and an aggressive tiki shirt
  • 16 1
 There's more E-bikes in Nice than you could ever possibly imagine, big place and lots of tourists/locals use them to get about. Cool article and insight into a modest gentlemen doing his business in a no-nonsense fashion.
  • 10 10
 @lkubica: Um. They are also bikes you know.
  • 5 2
 The e-bikes belong to his grandmother.
  • 7 1
 @lewismurphy: LOL. ebikes in the EU legally have to top out at 25km/h motor assist, so good luck overtaking any roadies.
  • 24 1
 If my wife ever kicks me out, and I end up in a shitty basement apartment, I'm totally doing that "bunk bed workshop" thing.
  • 20 1
 It's great to see this kid getting some coverage as he one of the best bike riders I've ever seen! Everyone gets their knickers in a twist over Sam Hill and Richie Rude but this kid is the real deal and gets often overlooked in favour of the more high profile riders. He has won in the toughest conditions imaginable this year and I can see him becoming a dominant force in Enduro in the future.
  • 4 2
 It's probably because people can't follow him and his lack of English keeping him from being a household name. Too bad because he is fast.
  • 8 1
 @chezotron: I like that he is not over-media-covered, he is a rider before anything. But do not forget that his body is full of ads like any others.

But Adrien, you should think about getting english lessons, it will serve you for sure, right now and in the future.
1 hour of english for each hour of push-up Wink

(sorry for my bad english Big Grin )
  • 1 0
 @fautquecaswing: I speak english well I learn it from a book.
  • 15 2
 You make your choices, Jesse made his very early ! As my grandfather said to me just before he died: 'life my boy is made up of experiences, bad and good, learn from the bad and remember the good, because when you lie here dying like i am, it's all you have, the memories' It took me till i was 48 to head to the mountains full time, i should have done it 30 years earlier....
  • 16 1
 Different from the way I live dailly.
  • 15 1
 Hang on, nice apartment or Nice apartment?
  • 7 1
 It's a nice Nice apartment.
  • 1 1
 @nozes: That clears that up the Big Grin
  • 16 4
 Jägermeister in the kitchen is a MUST!
  • 7 4
 Even better when its in your liver
  • 8 1
 The kid shreds. He can obviously cook. He's got a great apartment that looks like it was decorated by an interior designer athlete, it's spotlessly clean which means women won't be afraid of it. Which means... you get the picture. Kid's got it together for 21 yo. Definitely French, as indicated by the Opinel on the counter.
  • 10 2
 ew Nespresso, get yourself some proper coffee bud!
  • 5 4
 But it's the same as Mac, expensive, works OK but looks great! I just thought that the guy should probably ride for Nespresso...
  • 3 0
 Just got back to Whistler from 2 months riding in France. Brought my own coffee w me to France so I’m not surprised to see him w Nespresso...unless you like super over-roasted espresso. Coffee in France is much more about the cafe experience, not the coffee. Unless you go to Satellite in Morzine....that’s more like it!
  • 1 1
 that really sucks!
  • 4 1
 I was really excited to see how him and Seb Claquin would do in elites after an amazing battle for the u21s, both did well but my word this lad put his name in lights. Amazing group of young riders challenging at the top of the elites now with these two, Maes and Rude, Mark Scott, Jesse only 25 or so. And the evergreen Sam Hill of course :-). Awesome. All we need now Chris Ball is live coverage of one stage each race and we're set!
  • 4 1
 yes. 1 stage live would be great. or at least beside highlights some video cuts of top 20 riders on the technical sections.
  • 8 4
 Finally a PB article that very clearly shows the difference between pedal assist mountain bikes and a real motor bike...for all you fuckwits that can't seem to see the difference.
  • 1 0
 bike + motor = motorbike! That's how Harley Davidson and many other motorcycle companies started out adding motors to existing bikes. I don t have a problem with motorcycles or scooters, I think ebikes on non motorized trails in this part of the world is going to create legal problems for mtn bikers, and we could get screwed royally!
  • 4 1
 I have the same pizza cutter !! I probably have my chances too then. And nice to see an apartment I can relate to, and bikes in the elevator etc.. instead of the usual videos of rolling directly our of your garage on the bike, or just throwing it onto a pickup... This is what many of us do I guess
  • 1 1
 Oh yes, elevator struggle, turning the second bedroom of the flat into a bike storage/workshop, helmet and protections somewhere on the floor cuz the GF has taken over the cupboards and tyre marks all over the walls !.. leavin' the dream !
  • 1 1
 @CloseCall: get out of my house!
  • 5 1
 Probably one of the best insides.. Nice to see a true champion making himself from so early on Just being oneself in true confidence of what one is good at...
  • 7 2
 Nice story. But I m still supporting Sam Hill.
  • 10 7
 Jesus man, what a set up. I am so jealous of his.....ah shit is that an ebike. F#@%, G#$ DaNM BIKE!
  • 5 1
 Madeira Poncha from #EWSmadeira spotted Razz
  • 4 1
 La Chouffe and Grimbergen Kriek? Excellent taste in beer. Can't say the same for the k-cup coffee though, ugh.
  • 1 1
 Thx PB for this interview. I was curious to learn more about this rider. He has certainly made a good life for himself. The city Nice must be an amazing place to live, and then to travel to all the great EWS stops...living the dream!
  • 3 0
 Sweet apartment! He can decorate AND ride better than I can.
  • 4 1
 What a life...
  • 2 1
 I just wanted to say that I really don‘t like Nespresso coffee.

Thanks guys????
  • 2 1
 envious.......just a little.....#livingthedream
  • 3 2
 Those frenchies really like belgian beers,the drink of champions.
  • 3 1
 Yeah Chouffe and Grimbergen! Now I prefer Orval...
  • 2 5
 Interesting statement "Nico Vouilloz, arguably the greatest male racer downhill has ever seen" but Greg Minaar is referred to as GOAT. Who is the greatest male downhill racer in history? Make up your mind, let's put it out there as a vote and then give the GOAT title to that person.
  • 3 1
 That's what the word "arguably" is there for. Argue away
  • 2 1
 Bravo Matt, the picture with mirrors is so classy...
  • 1 1
 Talented photographers keep me coming to PinkBike. Beautiful series from Matt, again. That, and bike porn, off course.
  • 1 1
 Such a good piece @mattwragg ! Loved it, words and shots. Adrien deserved an article like this one.
  • 1 0
 OMG! Look at that podium photo. Adrien came 3rd to Adam Sandler!
  • 2 1
 A legend in the making!
  • 2 2
 Dude like E-bikes and elastic guns...
  • 1 2
 Has a remote lockout on his super deluxe coil, does not even have a leaver to use it. What is the point.
  • 1 1
 Cool apartment. And nice photos.
  • 1 2
 Dude needs to get a real coffee machine. Nespresso sucks. And the ton of garbage does.
  • 2 1
 Dola, Gachet : Legends!
  • 1 1
 Holy tires!!!
  • 1 3
 ebikes - another one off the list
  • 1 3
 Yea he got paid well!
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