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Ivan Viglaský




1. You started cycling very late, yet your massive improvement was all the more apparent. Tell us how you regard your cycling beginnings.

I was attracted by sport from a very early age, I even attended primary school with focus on athletics.  It was only later I discovered bicycle. My first cycling trip around the Kremnica mountains (so called „Kremničák“) along with my dad was the turning point for me – I hardly finished, but in return I was very excited to had survived a 100km ride.  I was telling everyone I met those days about my experience. More trips and trainings followed and I got addicted to cycling. It took quite some time to participate at my first race though – and I have to admit, I was very dissapointed by my results. I was the last one wherever I showed up.


2. You took part in your first races as a member of Cycling Team Vlkanová, but soon your performance rocketed to a much higher level and you joined Inter Bratislava Team. How do you remember these days?

I remember getting my first racing road bike one fall – a magnezium Merida. I started training hard, and was rewarded with podium results the following spring in Slovakia road cups. I soon attracted Mr.Gálik’s attention who invited me to join his team for Tour de Berlin in Germany. And so I raced agains completelly unknown riders to me such as Cavendish and Ciolek. The first stage was the fastest one I ever experienced, never again had I a feeling of such a high speed in a race again. We were literally flying at an infernal rhythm of 60km/h, there were lots of crashes and falls all stage long. Next stages weren’t any different and I soon realized the real credit of my podium finish in a Slovak Road Cup. Really a great experience. That season I’d done more races like this one all across Europe.


3. After one year spent in Inter Bratislava, you signed a transfer to ŽP Šport Podbrezová. It was in ŽP ŠPORT where you got your Champion of Slovakia Road U23 title and achieved your best results in general. How do you see your stay at ŽP Šport, was it a good experience? What were your major accomplishments?

It was a great ‘school of cycling’ to start with. I fulfilled my dream to become a ‘professional’, but suddenly it was not only about the joy of riding. I took off my pink glasses pretty soon, realized there’s also responsibility involved. Of course I had great times when improving both tactically and in my physical performance. But there were also less successful times, take year 2007 for example, when I lacked stamina and my performance was really bad. I started that year with a training camp in Mallorca followed by another one in Croatia. I had huge amounts of kilometres in my legs what I appreciated in the first races of the season. But later exhaution took over me, and the fatigue was so strong, that pretty much anyone riding a bike could beat me. I took 10 days completely off and started training from scratch again. This tactics rewarded me by winning a U23 Championship of Slovakia Road Race. I proved my qualities again in a stage race in Hungary and Around the High Tatras where I finished 2nd overall and I won my age category. Good results came also in a UCI race in Guadeloupe in the Carribean. I also managed podium finishes in Africa races that season.


4. You mentioned Africa – you seem to be very pupular in some African countries thanks to your podium results in races such as Tour de Senegal or Tour de Cameroun. You finished third and forth in the overall classification respectively, won several stages, stayed plenty days in the best climber jersey, points jersey and young riders classification respresented by white jersey. Your UCI points obtained on African soil seem to grant you an immortality in the mind of local people who follow the races very attentively. Do you remember your first impressions of these countries? How did your experience affect you in your later life?

If everyone is supposed to be given his or her 15 minutes of fame over their lifetime as they say, I must have redeemed all of mine in Africa. I truly have no idea where to look for the reason of my popularity. It could not have been only thanks to my results as there were much better riders than me in the race. After I made it to the podium a in a year’s time in the same race, I was very touched by hearing the commentator saying “And here we get to see his typical smile again”. Africa changed me. It changed my perception of world. I was shocked when I first landed in Africa – not shocked in the way the majority of people would expect me to be. The irony of my shock was that Africa was actually completely different than what I knew about it. It’s really hard to explain it, one has to experience it to understand. It’s about the different mentality, their history, the relations and how it’s all united. I realised the world is not black and white.


5. You experienced great years – you were studying at a university and racing at ŽP Podbrezová. Suddenly all this disappeared – you quit your studies and the Elite Men team was dismissed. Quite big changes in your life. Did it ever make you think of stopping racing?

It definitelly was a cold douche. Everything happened very fast and suddenly it was all over. I never thought of stopping racing, but I knew I would have different priorities over the next few years time and so cycling was put a little bit aside for some time. I found a job and joined Cycling Team Banská Bystrica as far as my cycling was concerned. There were times when I focused more on my job or let’s say on my career at the expense of training and racing. Cycling was just something running more in the background of my mind than in my real life. It wasn’t untill I didn’t ‘qualify’ twice for my favorite Cameroun race, when I realized I miss my old style of life badly. I knew I had to change my approach – a huge motivation for me was the faith Martin Fraňo put into me by inviting me to join the team in Guadeloupe in the Carribean back in 2011. It’s a hell of a tough hilly 10-day stage race and Martin told me he trusted I could prepare myself well for the race.  It was another turningpoint in my life returning me back to racing.

6. You did pretty well in the beginning of 2012 season, both in Slovak races, and abroad – you finished 9th overall and 4th in a stage in UCI races Tour de Cameroun and almost touched UCI points. What do you think of your start into this years‘ season?

My performance surpassed even my own expectations. I had trained hard, but not as hard as I wished I had due to extremelly cold winter. My good results were eased by familiarity with the race and the country. I tried to reach the UCI points, but Cameroun riders remembered me from the times of my ‘golden ages’ and thus they watched out for me during the race. I believe I can speak for the whole team, not only for myself when I say our new sponsors and partners were also a big challenge to us. We became more professional also in our acting. This year’s Tour de Cameroun was an excellent start of the season, both in terms of a cycling preparation for the whole season and as a teambuilding at the same time.

7. The team is now provided with cycling material and race calendar on a comparable level with extinct professional ŽP Podbrezová. Are you satisfied with the race calendar, the material and other accessories and food supplements provided? How do you find atmosphere in the team? You can judge based on your previous experience with ŽP Podbrezová, now extinct.

I have a completely different optics at these two teams or better say these two periods of my life. One appreciates good things in his life only when they are gone. I joined ŽP Podbrezová knowing it’s a professional team and cycling became my job. People there were nice, conditions I had were great. But it wasn’t until I joined Cycling Team Banská Bystrica that I started having really good times cycling. I was part of the team where the motives of everyone are similar, we enjoy riding bike, sports, travelling, meeting friends. And when one is at ease and is enjoying himself/herself, results come.

The team getting to its nowadays state is a great bonus. Our racing calendar is full, actually too full when confronting it with my days off at work. We are provided with very good bicycles with perfect geometry if I speak for myself and other equipment such as comfortable helmets. I like the way we look as a team now. I also like our relation with sponsors – they are not just logos on our shirts, but part of our team. There truly is a great team spirit.


8. What are your goals for this year? Racing season is knocking on the door, there are many small and big races as well awaiting you, with Romanian Sibiu Tour, Championship of Slovakia and of course Tour de Slovakia being the peak points.

After missing out on few years of Tour the Slovakia, I am mostly looking forward to this race. It’s a lot of pain, but I will try to do my best. Championship of Slovakia are definitelly another milestone of this season – as for everyone in the team. And Sibiu Tour? I long for tickets for cable car in the hilly stages already.


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