Q&A with a Pro:
Stellenbosch local and enduro ace, Matt Lombardi has qualified for the 2017 Enduro World Series. We caught up with him to chat about his year ahead and his beautiful new Giant Trance Advanced.
WORDS & IMAGES BY FRANS LE ROUX
Hi Matt, tell us more about yourself and your background.
Hi Frans, I am 19 years old and originally from Somerset-West. I live in Stellenbosch now and attended Paul Roos Gymnasium. I am also studying a BCom Management degree.
What was it that first got you into cycling?
My parents have always been big into cycling, both my mom and dad used to race competitively, winning multiple national and provincial titles between them.
Living in Stellenbosch, what is your favourite route to ride and why?
I love riding the Eden Forest trails, just above Paradyskloof, but growing up on the neighbouring Helderberg Trails, they are still my favourite.
Give me some highlights from your career in the past 5 years?
I’ve won the National XCO title at u/16-level and a few SA cup races since then. I’ve got an 11th in Wines2whales and a 9th at Tankwa Trek. I’ve won the provincial XCO series a few times as well as a few wins in the marathon classics. Since I’ve started focusing on enduro, I’ve won a few WP and Dirtipia enduro races and the infamous Ezelenduro.
You’ve recently qualified for what? And are you participating at EWS?
I’ve recently qualified for the Enduro World Series, and I plan to be racing the entire series this year. I was lucky enough to recover from injury just in time to race the last two qualifying races and claim a third and fifth respectively.
What draws you towards Enduro riding?
I love enduro because it’s mountain biking in its natural form, and I love the incredible places enduro takes you. The fact that you can cruise up a hill with your mates, and then bomb 10 minute downhill runs on the most amazing trails around the world.
What do you have planned for the rest of the season?
I hope to get a top 10 in the u/21 category at the EWS at the end of the season. I am travelling a lot this year, so the excitement is at an all-time high.
If you could do any race in SA what would it be and why?
I think it would be the Tankwa Trek – it is such an amazing race and it’s really natural mountain biking. It takes place in one of the most scenic areas of our country.
Do you do any other training outside of cycling?
I do a bit of gym work and some running.
What other mountain bike discipline would you like to participate in?
I’d love to give cyclocross a go!
Let’s talk about your new 2017 race machine:
What bike are you currently on and what team do you race for?
I ride a 2017 Giant Trance Advanced 0 and I race for team Giant-Corse
What makes your bike unique and why do you prefer it?
The new Trance has had a big facelift, it’s gained travel and a new trunnion mounted rear suspension which just makes it feel amazing in the rough stuff. It’s also lower, longer and slacker than previous years. Giant really have made an amazing bike!
What is the greatest feature/component on your bike?
I think besides the frame, it’s definitely my Corse Components Dopamine wheelset.