“When I’m told I’ve equaled Agostini, I stop in my tracks”

Spain’s Laia Sanz has won 15 trial-biking championships, but she cannot afford to slow down

Nadia Tronchoni
Laia Sanz after winning her second Enduro title.
Laia Sanz after winning her second Enduro title.n. martínez (AFP)

There was little time for rest even after winning everything there was to win. Laia Sanz arrived at her house from France at four in the morning and had to get up early to attend to the media. Last month, Sanz won the Trial World Championships for the 13th time in La Chatre. Two days later, in Saint-Flour, she was proclaimed world champion in the Enduro category, a 300km course, for the second time. Only the Grand Prix motorcycle racer Giacomo Agostini also boasts the same number of world titles. Sanz has matched that haul competing in all sorts of disciplines. She was the first woman across the line in the 2011 Dakar Rally, and 39th overall, and has also won three gold medals at the X-Games.

Question. How many hours are there in your day?

Answer. The truth is I've done a lot of things this year... (laughs). The shame is that some races have coincided on the same weekend. Competing in different events has made things more difficult.

Q. Has what you've achieved sunk in yet?

A. Well, when people tell me that I've equaled Agostini, I stop in my tracks a bit. If you'd told me 15 years ago what I'd go on to achieve I wouldn't have believed it. I always have challenges ahead. There's no stopping.

Q. You thought about quitting Trial this year.

A. That was the idea. I didn't think the calendar would allow it. Races clashed and I missed the first two because I had Enduro. But then I said as a joke I'd be at the next one. And I was. It started as a joke but in the end we did it.

Q. What was the most difficult aspect?

A. It's been hard the last two years to combine Trial, Enduro and the Dakar; it's pretty hard to ride such different bikes; it's mentally demanding.

Q. How many bikes have you competed on?

A. In Enduro I've ridden three. The first was lent to me by a friend; later I hired one and finally I bought a third. For Trial I used the Montesa I had in the garage. I blew the dust off, trained on it and it felt great.

Q. What else do you have to take care of as well as competing?

A. Everything. All of the costs, organizing travel, and lots of other things you don't have to think about when you have a team, [Sanz and Gas Gas parted company at the outset of the season]. It's been a learning curve. Next year I hope to be with a big team, a professional one.

Q. After a year like this, have you had many offers?

A. Yes, I'm looking around, trying to tie some things up. I have some very good offers.

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