Meet the Coach
We are very excited to introduce you to our Professional cycle coach Giannis Papanikolaou from BIKE Sale & Academy, who will be our coach for the “Train like a pro” training camps
We caught up with Giannis for a chat about his cycling career, coaching and the state of cycling in Greece today
- So Giannis, we understand that you were national track champion? Tell us a little about that experience and how did you first get into cycling:
“I always had a bike as a kid, and after having a few difficult early teen years I decided to channel my energy into cycling and joined my local racing team at 15. After racing in both road and track disciplines I decided that the track was more for me. I was fortunate to have good coaching and support helping me to achieve national champion first at junior level then again at senior level, as well as representing my county at international level. Being able to travel around the world and compete at cycling events such at the world championship in Cuba will always be a special highlight in my life”
- Over the last few years cycling in Greece has increased dramatically. Do you think the hugely successful 2004 Olympic games in Athens helped kick start the current boom or was it down to something else ?
“ I was lucky enough to be involved in the organizing of the cycling events for the Athens 2004 Olympics, another huge experience for me, I think the Olympics helped all sports in general, not just cycling and some of the funding received was used towards improving facilities for the juniors. As a coach for a local team I saw a definite increase in members straight after”
- You studied for a master’s degree in Sports science at Brunel University, tell us about your experience living in the UK, what it was like swapping the blue skies for grey clouds!
“Mainly I was excited about the opportunity to learn and study at one of the world’s best sports universities, and learn about new cultures and lifestyles that London brings with it. Overall I enjoyed my time in the UK but it was definitely welcome to return home to some warmer weather! “
- As a coach, what do you think you can offer our guests, who are coming for a week’s training camp?
“My experience and knowledge that I’ve gained during my 20 years in the sport and helping them put their owns goals in to reality”
- Unfortunately most people in the UK don’t recognize Greece as a serious cycling destination, even though as you know, it has all the qualities needed including some epic mountain climbs. What do you think Greece could do to rectify this and raise the profile of cycling here.
“The Greek government needs to put more money into sport. The problems regarding finances in Greece are well documented, but I think they could do more. Since the funding from the Olympics dried up there has been very little in the way of money, or interest. Other countries such as Azerbaijan, where I was on the organizing committee for the Tour d’ Azebaijan in 2015 have made an effort to increase the profile and are seeing some results. With the amazing mountainous terrain, variety of roads and general beauty it is a massive shame that Greece doesn’t have more internationally recognized races and cycling culture”
- And finally what is your favorite bike brand and what are you riding at the moment :
“Colnago of course, my favorite and current bike, which is why I chose them to be my main Brand at my business BIKE Sale & Academy”
Thank you for taking time to talk to us, and we are really looking forward to the Training camps
For more information about our Train like a pro training camps