Stan invited us to visit him at home, in Ghent. The opportunity to ask him questions we don’t often ask, to meet the man behind the rider.
▪️ How and why did you start cycling?
At home, it was all “football football football”. And one summer, thanks to the dad of one of my friends, I don’t know why, I tried cycling. I really liked it and they were really surprised that after 80km I was not completely dead. So, they convinced me to register in a club. My first year, I was not really good: I finished 83rd of my region. But the year after, I won 11 times and finished 1st. And from there, everything started.
▪️ What do you find in cycling that motivates you?
Of course, I like the rides, the training. But I think the truth is that I’m really competitive, and what I like about cycling is that you are on your own. It’s yourself that you have to push, you cannot count on someone else. Every race you have to push yourself to the limit… it may look strange, but it’s really something I like.
▪️ How did you join AG2R CITROËN Team?
They came to me and I was very happy. I had quite a big injury the year before. It was one week after the season, a car hit me and I badly injured my knee. But they trusted me anyway, and I’m very grateful for that.
▪️ How does it feel to be a pro rider?
Making of your hobby your profession is really something amazing to do. I know I’m very lucky. But it comes also with sacrifices. When you’re a pro rider, it’s always, everyday: when you eat, when you hang out with friends… there’s no “on” and “off”. You also have to accept to be far from home and from your friends. I’m away 200 days per year.
▪️ What’s on your “cycling bucket list”?
As a professional, victories of course. My dream race is Paris-Roubaix. I’ve always been connected to this race, even before I won it in U23. Also, I’d really like to participate at least once to the Tour de France. Aside from my pro career, I’d like to go with a friend to participate in the Cape Epic or the Crocodile Trophy and go bikepacking with my younger brother.
▪️ And aside from cycling, what are your hobbies?
The most important is to spend time with my friends. I often invite them for dinner, we play darts… we also got into board games since the COVID quarantine! And I’m passionate about beer. With a friend, we brew our own beer, we develop our own recipes, and we even have the project to maybe put it on the market one day.
— Léo Bochet to ag2rcitroenteam.com