UCI World Cycling Centre trainee mechanic also paving the way for cycling career

In his final year before joining the Junior ranks, Thibaud Contesse already has the Swiss Under-17 National Omnium title to his name.

The 16-year-old was crowned Swiss Champion at the Tissot Velodrome in Granges at the end of March after an intense competition that saw him claim victory by just one point. Not bad for a cyclist whose specialty is mountain bike and who is studying and working full time to become a bike mechanic.

While many young sportsmen and women are students benefitting from adapted hours to accommodate their training, Thibaud is in his first year of his apprenticeship which comprises one day of lessons a week and four days of practical work alongside the mechanics at the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle. Although that does not leave an enormous amount of time for training, he can take advantage of the high-quality UCI WCC facilities. His lunch breaks are spent either in the UCI WCC gym, riding outside or on the track. This winter he also competed in several competitions organised at the UCI WCC velodrome.

The Omnium title was not his first victory of the year. He has already won the first round of the mountain bike Swiss Cup, a series comprising six rounds. As well as meaning to confirm this result at the following five rounds, the multi-talented athlete will also be looking to perform well at the Swiss Championships in Crans-Montana at the beginning of June. The Swiss ski resort will host a round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup next year and the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2025, when Thibaud will be a second-year Junior.

International competition beckons, but the young Swiss – part of the Swiss Cycling Under-17 selection, member of the Union Cycliste Montheysanne and part of the Team Papival Scott Grand Raid BCVS - does not want to look too far ahead.

“Next year I will be a first-year Junior. It will be completely different and something I need to discover. It’s a different level of racing, and the courses are technically a lot more difficult. I will need to discover what it’s like,” says the young rider who will also be chasing UCI points for his second year in the Junior ranks.

This year, he will also compete in the National Championships on the road – Swiss Cycling establishes a combined ranking for National Championships in three different disciplines - but knows that his future is in mountain bike.

“I started with mountain bike because that’s what my father did, and I started following him. I have more fun on a mountain bike and enjoy the technical aspect.”

Aside from his sporting ambitions, he is enthusiastic about his training as bike mechanic.

“I have always tinkered on my bike. I love that. I’ve always liked all manual work, fine-tuning my bike and I did quite a bit with my father. I’m in cycling and it can also help me tune my bikes. I really enjoy it and the contact with the trainee athletes at the UCI World Cycling Centre.”