Getting to Know: The World's Fastest Teenager - Thibaut Daprela

Apr 4, 2020
by Ed Spratt  

Thibaut Daprela

Thibaut Daprela had an incredible two years racing as a Junior with back to back World Cup overall titles. For 2020 he is stepping up to Elites although with a recent injury and after event cancellations and postponements we have a little while longer to see how he will fare with the Elites.

We caught up with Thibaut to talk about how he got started in downhill, how the virus is affecting his season and what he hopes for the future.

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I was born in the French Riviera around 20 minutes from Cannes and I’m still living in the same place, it's a calm and chill place.

Who do you ride for?

I’m riding for the Commencal/Muc-off by Riding Addiction team.

What does a typical day look like for you?

As I’m still at school, for me a classic day is going to school for half of the day and then training, but most of the time I do a first training session in the morning then I go to school and then have another training session after school.

How did you get into downhill racing?

Basically, I was riding BMX in my younger days because in BMX you can do, for example, World Championships and European Championships from the youngest age and that what drove me for years because with downhill in France you can’t do any races before you're 15 years old. I had always planned to start downhill races from 15 as soon as I could race, I have always ridden MTB and it was what I loved the most.

Classic race style from Thibault.
Thibault Daprela pulling up for extra height on the second straight.
Thibault Daprela at the Blausasc BMX Track opening in 2016. Photos: Matt Wragg

What are your strengths?

I think it’s my commitment on the bike combined with strength and BMX skills.

What are your weaknesses?

My weaknesses are trying to go too fast too early and specific corners.

What’s been the worse crash you've had?

My worst crash was last year in Vallnord during the finals run, I may have forgot to put the fingers on the brake during this run!

Where’s your favorite place to ride?

For me, the best place is where I live because in approximately 90 minutes of driving you have so many places to ride for enduro and downhill and each spot is amazing. Plus you have good weather and a sea view most of the time.

Thibaut Daprela still has the number one plate on his bike but it has been a while since we have seen him win in the junior race.

What bikes are you riding right now?

I’m riding my downhill bike, a Commencal Supreme DH.

Who or what inspires you?

The people who inspire me are mostly hard workers and successful people. Whatever it is, in sport or in business, there are always things to learn from these people but to give you a name in MTB, Nicolas Vouilloz. We have known each other since I was born. There is also another person in MTB but I will keep the name secret because he's still on the WC circuit haha.

What do you enjoy doing away from bikes?

I really like real estate, it is a hobby for me. Then I love riding moto during the winter and in summer when we don’t have races wake surfing.

2.5 seconds up today Thibaut Daprela will want to keep it rubber side down tomorrow after crashing in his last two race runs. Will we see a more cautious approach tomorrow

What do you do to rest and recover after a race?

I take cold baths and our amazing physio Brieuc take care of us, and I try to stay relaxed and not move too much to keep my energy and have a faster recovery.

What advice would you give to someone trying to get into racing?

My advice is to put a lot of work and commitment into the sport and being ready to make sacrifices.

How do you get focused before dropping into a race run?

I don’t need to get focus everything come naturally, I have my routine.

Where do you think the future of downhill racing is headed?

As we saw last year, the riders were super close in timing because they are very serious compared to 10 or even 5 years ago. There are also the tracks, which are, for the most part, not too natural and very fast. In my eyes it’s not the best way, old school tracks were more fun and less dangerous.

Thibaut Daprela doesn t miss - a monstrous 12 second margin this afternoon and a top 10 equivalent in elite.

How has the spread of Coronavirus affected you so far?

Unfortunately, I injured my knee during the early outbreak of the virus so it was good for me at the beginning because I knew that some races will be cancelled or postponed but the coronavirus has taken so much impact all over the world than on my personal interest. We all need to stay safe at home to reduce the problem.

What are your plans going forward to work around the limitations put in place against the virus?

As I said previously, I can’t ride so I stay confined at home and I try to adapt my training with the machines that I have in my own workout room.

Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
3,142 articles

  • 61 0
 Nice! How is real estate a hobby for a teenager? I don’t get it
  • 10 0
 His way of saying hanging round the streets.
  • 5 3
 Id assume he likes to look at houses and such like their art pieces maybe. I know someone who enjoys doing that.
  • 9 16
flag chillrider199 (Apr 4, 2020 at 10:27) (Below Threshold)
 Theyre*. Its a habit dont ask.
  • 3 0
 Good for him.
  • 8 1
 Maybe his family has some scratch????
  • 5 0
 this kid is really fast!
Last year at Portuguese Cup, he qualified 1st with a flat rear tyre agaisnt some other local Portuguese Junior World Cup riders...
He was always one of the fastest on track on several national cups here in Portugal.

check out 1:05min at this video:
  • 10 1
 Dude I was the fastest teenager— always only lasted 20-30 seconds!!
  • 5 0
 How many more talented riders can Nice produce? Nico, Fabien, Bruno & Vergier, and a few more I've probably forgotten!
  • 6 0
 Barelli, Metailler, Dailly...
  • 1 0
 Yeah it's crazy but it's exactly because of the reasons Thibaut mentioned in the interview. They have the perfect conditions: altitude, lot's of high quality trails and good weather year round.
  • 4 0
 They have the trails, the attitude and mtb clubs/assoiations with training grounds and everything. It's a usual sport in their society. Their success is no surprise
  • 3 0
 Voullioz, Barel, Camellini, Bruni, Vergier, Dailly, Daprela... Add some enduro riders like Nicolai or Tordo
It is going to continue, watch regional races results: you almost always have "cadets" (so 15/16 yo) in top 5 or top 10 in between world cup riders! They have very good clubs, they do shuttle every week-end on local DH tracks or spots like finale which are 2h away from home...
  • 3 0
 Honestly. Who doesn’t commencal have riding for them. They love that young talent
  • 1 7
flag mi-bike (Apr 4, 2020 at 11:01) (Below Threshold)
 I can name a few
  • 11 9
 teenager?... he looks like 40!
  • 15 0
 He's french, been hacking the darts back since he could bake his first baguette
  • 2 2
 Check your eyes / stop peyotl and mescaline / ....
  • 2 0
  • 1 0

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