Interview: Gautier Paulin – French MXON team captain!

Gautier Paulin has been an integral part of the French MXDN success over the last five years and once again will wear the number one with pride as the French defend their title in the Dutch sand.

We caught up with the smooth and stylish Wilvo Yamaha rider to get his view on what has made the French a winning machine since 2014.

Another year at the MXON and another year for France to defend the title, what is the secret of all the success?!

Hard work, passion and team. The team I think is the big word from that list. Yes, it’s an individual sport but we are doing a team race, it is really important to share with your teammates and make it happen. We have been really strong on that side and on the track too.

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Do you enjoy the team aspect of it? Does it give you extra passion or motivation because you are all helping each other?

Yes, I’m really enjoying the team aspect of it. I’m really enjoying the strategy and the structure they’ve put around the French team. I enjoy sharing my sport with different athletes, it’s the only race during the year we can do it. It’s a good time and always the MXON, for the French riders, there are many strong guys in our country and being in the team it means you are strong, because otherwise you don’t get picked for the team. It’s a big bonus (reward) for a good season.

Tixier, Ferrandis and Paulin celebrate their win at Red Bud . Pic: Doug Turney

France with all the recent success, was there a change of outlook or strategy for the races over the last 5/6 years that you have noticed from all your time on the team?

Sure, there has been big changes, huge changes of teamwork, of structure, of management of interest, so to answer your question their has been big changes.

Does that all help give you less stress during the weekend and allow you to enjoy it?

Yes, they understand the sport side and they also give us a lot of confidence with a good structure. My role as captain is really to give the link between the athlete and the structure and French Federation and trainer. We are doing a good job, the main thing is to have full focus for the two races.

There always seems to be a lot of controversy each year from France in terms of team selection! Are you able to distance yourself from that and focus on your own thing or are you involved?

No I wasn’t involved in that, it definitely isn’t my part. It gives stress to the people in the office side but not on the athlete. Still the goal is to remain strong.

Paulin Pic: Youthstream

You still have a strong team, you are a good sand rider, Jordi Tixier is a good sand rider and Renaux is fast, especially when he gets the starts. Are you confident of being up there again this year?

You know confidence is a big word. We are there, we are strong, there is always some polymix when there are too many riders (that can be picked) and when there are too many riders and especially with France, you see that every season it’s a big deal.

We are there with the team and really happy, there is a really good atmosphere between us and we have been doing a great job after China to train together and we will see what happens. We are the number 1,2 and 3 plate and we need to defend our title but it all starts from zero, it’s a new race. We will go with the same enthusiasm and go for the same goal.

Paulin in the 2019 French team shirt Pic: Paulin Instagram