Kevin Miquel had an incredible 2019 season with an overall 3rd place finish in the EWS. The French rider made a huge impact on a sport that has been dominated by the same names for the past few years.
We caught up with Kevin to talk about how he got started in enduro, his amazing 2019 season and what he hopes for the future.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I come from Cavaillon and still live in Cavaillon, city of melon (the fruit), in the south of France.
Who do you ride for?
I have been riding for the Sunn Team Enduro for 2 years.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My days are varied and different. It depends on the week or the weekend. But generally, I get up early for a session in the morning, a good meal at the grandma's, a second session in the afternoon then return home and head to a bar to meet my girlfriend and friends. Because some days are done alone and it is good to find people. On weekends, it's a ride with friends.
How did you get into enduro racing?
I have done a lot of cycling disciplines. I started with BMX, then mountain biking to go road cycling before arriving at enduro in 2016. I wanted to find fun and fun on my bike while continuing the competition. I knew Cécile and Cédric Ravanel, and it was they who introduced me to this environment. And I don't regret it at all!
What are your strengths?
Explosiveness and strong mind.
What are your weaknesses?
Technical engagement and speed.
What’s been the worse crash you've had?
I remember that as if it were yesterday: it was my first day of shuttling at Finale Ligure with the Ravanels, first descent of the afternoon, I had a serious accident which cost me a broken elbow. The first accident in a long series haha.
Do you have any big projects or trips planned for 2020?
Not necessarily, I'm staying on the EWS series with a few races aside. It is difficult to do everything. In any case, my body would not keep pace.
Where’s your favorite place to ride?
I really like riding everywhere. What makes the spot beautiful is also the people they share. I really like improbable places like Derby, Tasmania. Then I come back from Catalonia to Spain and I rode a super cool bike park.
How did you get into mountain biking?
I have a very sporty family. And at the age of 4/5, my father took me to see all the sports associations in the city and I was free to choose one. I chose BMX. At the same time, my grandfather created a mountain bike club in Cavaillon so everything was done in passion.
What bikes are you riding right now?
I ride on a Sunn Kern LT in size L. Fork and Shox Formula. FSA wheels and components. Hutchinson tires. Look pedals. Herrmans grips. DDK saddle.
Who or what inspires you?
By his style and his riding, I’m very inspired by Amaury Pierron. I love his state of mind. I train every winter with my childhood friend, Sylvain André, 2018 BMX world champion. He is passionate and a hard worker, I get a lot of inspiration and I learn a lot from him. I really like other sports. And sportsmen like Martin Fourcade (Biathlon) or Teddy Riner (Judo) inspire me a lot with their personality. They are always present at great moments.
What do you enjoy doing away from bikes?
I enjoy playing other sports, seeing my friends who don't live near my home, going to a restaurant, spending time with my girlfriend, my family. I am someone very simple.
What do you do to rest and recover after a race?
Generally, if our house has a bath, I like to have a cold bath. If not legs in the air and listen to music. After the race, I need to chill out, drinks some beers and enjoy with the French mafia.
What advice would you give to someone trying to get into racing?
Easier said than done, but don't think about the result. This is how I’ve been trying to see it for a year and a half and it works pretty well. You have to see the race as a chance to participate in an event where there is safety, atmosphere and surpassing oneself.
How do you get focused before dropping into a race run?
Before going to lunch I like to take a quiet bike ride. I eat then I have a playlist, a music routine that I like to get in shape.
You had an incredible 2019 season, was it something you expected going into the year?
I didn’t expect this incredible 2019 season at all. I have only been racing enduro for 3 years. I took the races one after the other without taking the lead and that's what worked. I was very successful too. In short, a dream year.
How do you plan to build upon your success in 2019?
I will keep my feet on the ground because the level is very high. I’ve had a very good 2019 season but everything is going very fast in the sport. Humility. I will take the races one after the other, take maximum fun on the bike and give the best of myself.
Have you made any changes for the upcoming season or do you plan to keep things similar to last year?
We don't change something that works! haha. No, joking aside, I haven't changed much in my preparation. This is the first year that I have integrated CrossFit this winter, I really liked it. I did a little more endurance too because that’s what I missed last season. If not from a mental point of view, I approach it in the same way with a lot of passion.
Where do you think the future of enduro racing is headed?
I think enduro is at a time when it has to renew itself. It is a young discipline which is becoming more professional from year to year. The arrival of the UCI is a good thing but it is not enough. I ask for more credibility. Whether in terms of rules and especially doping.
I think we can progress in terms of communication. It is very difficult for mountain biking “followers” to follow the EWS. My idea would be to do 1 to 2 stages on the weekend, rather short, broadcast by TV media for more exposure. It must be spectacular and visible for enthusiasts.