Juanjo Méndez, the dream follower. Paralympic cyclist. World Champion

2 Aug. 2019 | SOLTRA

"It took me 18 years to be world champion, but I didn't stop until I did it"

Juanjo Méndez, the dream follower. Paralympic cyclist. World Champion

2 Aug. 2019 | SOLTRA

Juanjo Méndez lost his left leg and arm in a road accident in the early 1990s. Then he started to get fat and, when he got to 100 kg,he decided to ride on a bike to lose weight. What he didn’t imagine was everything that would come next.

With a lot of effort and perseverance. Juanjo made it to the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. Since then, his record has been admirable: two-time world champion (2011 and 2013); World Cup winner and more than 80 Spanish Championships. As if that weren’t enough, it’s a silver medal in Athens, Greece in individual persecution; bronze medal on track and silver in chrono in China, Pekin; two-fifths in London and seventh place in Rio. He wants to arrive at the Tokyo Olympics and retire in 2020.

It is also the visible head of the Genesis project, the cycling club he chairs. Every afternoon children of all ages exercise in the difficult art of riding a bike through a velodrome. “We try to make an inclusive cycling, in which children with some type of disability, both physical and psychological, can live with other children, with no differences. We work with more than 50 kids”, explains Juanjo.

– Twice Paralympic runner-up, world time trial champion in 2013, runner-up in 2015… It’s clear that the bike is your thing. What does cycling give you?
It brings me day to day, it is my life.

– What is your daily training routine?
In road cycling in the morning and in the afternoon cycling on the track and weights.

– Your coach is, for many years, Bernat Moreno. What does it mean for you to have their support?
It means he is a good friend, he is a person who knows me well and from the beginning he has taken me.

– Now, you dedicate a lot of time to the Genesis Project, with which bring the sport to people with all kinds of difficulties
 Where does this idea come from?
The idea was Bernat´s an me. Older people came to learn and we thought about teaching since childhood

– What does being part of the Genesis project mean to you?
That brings me a lot,one part is mine.

– Any new challenge or dream to meet in sight?
The paralympics of 2020 in Tokyo, which will be the end of my career.

– If you had in front of a person with a dream as big as yours that has to overcome a difficulty like yours to achieve it, what would you say?
Let him do it, don’t think twice. Dreams are to realize them.

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