A World Champion as a trainer: Torredembarra Cycling Club
He was a world champion in Trial in 2010, and third in the world in 2015 and 2017. Last year, he added another Spanish Master title to his record of achievements, but Àngel Batlle’s biggest passion is to pass on all of his experiences to the youth. His club, in Torredembarra, has 250 members, and Batlle dreams of helping one of them to a world title in the future as well.
The Torredembarra Bikepark plays an important role in the Catalan cycling scene, particularly in the province of Tarragona. Cyclists from the area, up to 65 kilometers outside of Torredembarra, come to practice different mountain biking disciplines, Trial, BMX, dirt jump, road cycling, and more, in a beautiful cycling park that opened in 2009.
Batlle, 38 years old, is one of the trainers of the club. The Catalan gained interest in the bike when he was four years old. Ever since then he has been in the top levels of his discipline, with becoming a world champion in Trial in 2010 as his biggest achievement. When he was sixteen years old, Batlle already started sharing his experiences with others by giving classes. A passion he continues to enjoy nowadays.
Growing step by step
“I started offering classes most simply,” he says, “by just helping kids who like Trials. Step by step the professionalism of these classes evolved, by developing small facilities and getting more kids to attend the training. We then constructed the bike park here in Torredembarra, but there was no material in 2009 yet. So, year by year, we invested in assets and created the park as you can see it today. We now have a school and we can organize competitions on a national level. We even have a second bike school, in Cambrils, and we do activities with two other schools.”
“We did not expect to grow to such extent as we are currently,” the former world champion continues. “Nowadays, we provide classes from Monday to Saturday, in five different municipalities, with Torredembarra as the main location, with our bike park. Our efforts are well received, and personally, I find it great to see that young people, from all different ages, are enjoying the cycling sport.”
Batlle: “We hope to continue growing, by having a bigger area and offering more disciplines to kids. A BMX track, for instance, would be fantastic, but it is complicated to build one because the space is limited. However, this is a dream that we hope to realize.”
The Catalan cyclist hopes that his pupils will reach the highest levels in their disciplines as well, just like he did in Trial. “The club had already World Champion in an age category. We have several riders who moved onto Trials with motorcycles, and are also doing very well, with podium places in national and international competitions.”
Desire and potential
He strongly believes that the skills learned with Trial, can be used in other cycling specializations like rally, downhill and enduro. “Over the years, I have seen children showing techniques in these disciplines that adults have never shown before. Therefore, I am sure that learning experiences in different fields of mountain biking will only get you further in the discipline you like most.”
“Some of the kids in our club have the desire and the potential to reach the highest levels, and I am committed to supporting them the best way I can for them to reach their dreams. I get a lot of energy from seeing all the members grow, as well as the social aspect of training together, that has always been the main reason to go to the club to give training on nearly a daily basis.”
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Text: Sjors Beukeboom, Photos: Àngel Batlle