Sergi Llongueras (24) was approached by a Spanish clothing brand startup, which was interested in creating content about people that do extreme things, follow their dreams and work hard to live from their passion. That ended up in a 24 minutes long video, where they interviewed Sergi at his local trials park in Òrrius, just outside Barcelona.
After watching the video, we still had some questions for the 2019 26″ world champion, and asked Sergi about his career, training, injuries and goals for the future.
You started doing trials at the age of 12, which is 12 years ago now. Besides the obvious of winning a world championship title, what have been the highlights?
Well, besides the world title I’ve had a lot of great moments in my career.
The first one was my first world cup ever in Aalter 2012, where I finished last, making 5s in every section. But, just to be there competing in a world cup and seeing all my idols, was amazing and really inspiring to keep improving to be in a final one day.
Another big date for me was the junior world championships final in Norway (2014), where I got second place. It was my first time on a world championship podium and it was a highlight at that time.
2014 was a really good year for me since I was starting to feel like I was good at competitions, I had more confidence than ever before in my skills, and I made it to my first world cup final, finishing in fourth place. The race was in Moutier, Switzerland, and I finished just behind Jack, Gilles and Vincent. That was like a dream come true!
After that, all the problems with my knee injury started, and I had to be off the bike for long periods. It wasn’t until back in 2018 when I started to get that confidence back and did my best year ever! The biggest highlights from that year were my first podium in a world cup and in the overall, and finishing the year with my first podium in an elite world championship, where I got second.
After winning the 26″ World Championship title in 2019, you’ve now wore the rainbow jersey for more than one year, which is quite a unique situation. How has it been to wear the jersey? Do you sleep in it too?
Obviously to be able to ride with my own rainbow jersey is a dream come true! It’s what I’ve been visualizing for so many years, and now that it’s a reality I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can. Even if I don’t film anything I train with it. Hahaha, I don’t sleep in it, but the first days after the world championships, I walked around my house with the jersey on, haha!
It’s been a pretty weird situation, but to be honest I almost don’t think about it. This past year I’ve had bigger problems than that since I was still having pain in my knee, and I wanted to take advantage of the situation and use all this time without competing to finally heal my injury. So trial training and competitions have been out of my focus for some time now.
It’s not the way I wanted to retain it, but that’s something I have no control over, so I don’t really think about it. For me it feels like a longer year, that’s all, haha.
You’ve been struggling with a knee for several years now, tell us about your current injury situation and recovery plan.
This knee thing has been really tough. I’ve been four years in pain, trying to find someone to really tell me what is the real problem and where did the pain exactly come from. After the world championship I was getting to a critical point where I was losing my right leg mobility, and apart from the knee I had pain in my shoulder and hip. However, doctors told me that the magnetic resonance results were perfect and they didn’t know what else to do. I was really frustrated and lost.
Fortunately, this past summer, four years and two surgeries later, I found the right person with a solution in biomechanics! The real problem wasn’t coming from the knee, it was in the whole body in general. I’ve had to change a lot of things in my training and my daily life. I stopped trials trainings for four months and even stopped posting videos keeping myself out of social media just to focus on myself and all this recovery process. That’s exactly what I needed.
I can’t really tell you more about this process since some news are coming, but I can tell you that I’ll be back to training pretty soon!! I’m learning a lot about the movement of my body and I’m sure I’ll be a totally improved rider after all these changes have settled. Can’t wait!
Throughout your 12 years long career, you’ve been constantly developing your level despite grinding through several injuries. What’s your secret to achieve progression, year after year? Which areas have given you the most drastic improvements to your overall level?
I really don’t have any secrets to keep progressing, I think it’s the constant desire to be better as a rider and as a person, and trials is the best way I know to do that. Injuries have been a big factor on this, because it’s been a huge resistance to my progression, and it created a big frustration in me that made me want to work even harder to achieve my goals. So I could say being disciplined, working hard, having consistency and constantly learning are the keys to progress.
In my case, power moves and big jumps come easy for me, so the more I train balance, precision and technical moves, the more I improve my overall level.
The 2021 season is approaching, and it’s still a lot of uncertainty about the calendar, but if a normal international calendar becomes a reality, what are your ambitions and plans?
My first priority is to complete my recovery process and get back to enjoy riding my bike at 100%. Without that, competitions don’t make sense for me. Then, I’ll start competitions watching where my level is at and I’ll keep training hard to be able to defend my world title at the end of the year.