Ahead of the 2013 Downhill World Cup season we catch up with the new UCI gravity technical delegate, ex-World Cup racer David Vazquez.
Congratulations on your new job as UCI TD.
Thank you very much, it´s very exciting for me to come back to the World Cup circuit!
First up for those that might not know you, can you tell us a bit about your background and your racing career?
My name is David Vazquez, from Barcelona, Spain. I’ve raced World Cups since I was 17, from 1996 until 2009. My best results have been finishing 2nd Overall and 3rd Overall in the World Cup series. I won four separate World Cups and was Spanish Champion and European Champion a few times. I raced for the best teams and brands in the World Cups. It was a dream come true to be a professional downhill racer. After retirement, in 2010, I kept racing at a national level, I got married, had a baby who is one and a half years old, I owned a bike shop too. Now I´m training to become a helicopter pilot, I hope to get my Commercial Pilot Licence by the end of the year.
So now after three long seasons away from the World Cup circuit, I´m super excited to come back and work as the Technical Delegate.
You’ve been busy then! So can you tell us exactly what the Technical Delegates job entails? What sort of things do you have to do?
There are a few things a Technical Delegate has to look after. The UCI have determined a check list with requirements and obligations an organizer has to follow in terms of security, facilities for teams, riders, public, TV, etc. I´ll be the one behind the organizer making sure those aspects are done before and during the race. After each event I have to write a report with the positive, negative and possible suggestions for future races. I´ll listen to opinions from every one and try to give the best feed back and ideas, to try and improve as much as possible all the aspects of the World Cup events. I´d like to hear comments from all the riders to try to improve tracks and safety issues and pass that information on to the UCI. As a technical delegate I’ll also be visiting possible future World Cup venues.
How long is your post for?
I don´t know, I only know that they were looking for someone who is available for the whole season, they want to have the same TD for all the races and were looking for continuity. They also told me they were very happy with Chris Ball.
Yes, talking of Baller, you’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill, your predecessor Chris Ball did a great job as TD, will it be a daunting task?
Yeah, as I said the UCI were very happy with him and I have never heard anyone complaining about him, which can be really hard some times ha-ha! So yes, it will be very hard to match him and the experience he has, but as the good competitor that I am, I will try to do even better;)
Did Chris give you any advice?
All that is pretty recent and I still haven´t had chance to talk to him, I´ll speak to him before Fort William for sure, he’ll also be there to guide me at my first race. I think it isn´t going to be an easy job!
Will we see any great change to the way the WC races are run this year?
I don´t know, I wasn´t able to go to any of the races last year and I haven´t heard of any big change for this season as yet, so I suppose it will be the same. Last year it looked good for me from the outside watching the media coverage, but as I say that is only my opinion.
What are your thoughts on expanding the downhill WC series with more races and new venues?
I really hope that will happen, especially making the season longer and starting earlier like last year when the first race was in South Africa in April. Just so we don´t have to wait that long to start enjoying the WC racing! I´ve heard there might be new and exciting venues soon though, I am going to visit a few new ones in April.
Sounds like we may see a few 650b bikes racing this year, what are your thoughts on wheel sizes? Any plans to introduce wheel size rules?
I´ve never been inside the UCI, so I guess I´ll get to know any new rules soon. But yeah, looks like a 650b sounds like a good choice for most of the super fast and rough tracks out there like Mont Sainte Anne or Fort William. I hope this winter teams have been hiding their wheel tests and show up with bigger wheels! I´m pretty sure times will be faster. In my opinion the tyre grips more, rolls faster and makes bumps smaller, so why not? We´ll have to wait and see.
Good luck in your new role David, we wish you all the best, any thing else you’d like to tell us?
Not much more, I only want to thank UCI to put that trust on me, thank my family and friends for the support and you guys. Keep feeding us with the latest news and rad photos.