Happy as a partridge. The young Rocío del Alba (23 years old, Villa del Prado) has made the dream she had as a child come true, when glued to the television she watched the best runners arrive at the Olympic Games. Dedicated all her life to cycling, she went through a pothole that left her on the verge of leaving cycling, until Carlos Coloma knocked on her door and sat down in the dining room of her house with her parents. ‘Colo’ saw in this cheeky and hard-working young woman on the bike a diamond that just needed to be polished.
Over the years she was improving, Rocío ‘Dinamita’ sweeping Spain in all races and climbing and improving positions at the international level until she was the protagonist of the Tokyo Games, in which she will fight to be among the best.
What did you feel when your place was confirmed?
It was a dream come true. I remember when I was little when I saw it on TV, I always wanted to, I dreamed of being in the Olympic Games, and now my dream is going to come true.
What sensations does the Tokyo circuit transmit to you?
We were in it in the pre-Olympic almost two years ago. It is a circuit that when I saw it did not resemble any of the ones I have done in the World Cup or in any World Championship. A completely different circuit, with a lot of rock, very technical and quite tough, with many steep uphill and downhill slides. A different circuit than what we are used to, also because it is artificial, but it is beautiful and hard.
When I was little, when I watched the Games on TV, I dreamed of being in the Olympic Games, and now my dream will come true
What do you think your attitude should be in the race?
It takes a lot to be in the Olympics. As we all know, every four years it is not easy to get a place and be selected for the Games. That is why the attitude is to go to win, although afterwards the race will put us in our place. You have to go to the Games with a winning mentality. Living the experience is very nice, but you have to think of a goal and this will be my attitude.
What will your preparation be for the Tokyo Games?
I’m going to do it in the Puerto de Navacerrada. The races I have before the Games are the World Cup events in Loeogang (Austria) and Les Gets (France), although before I run the Spanish Electric Championship this weekend in Madrid, and I will also do the Championship of Rally Spain, and from here we will go to the Games.
Blessed is the day that Carlos Coloma knocked on your door and recovered you for cycling, but especially for mountain biking.
The truth is that Carlos plays a very important role in me. I say it in a humble way, but if it hadn’t been for him, I would have left the bike and he is my coach. He takes me everything, he is a great manager and I trust him a lot and I hope he will accompany us to Tokyo because he will give us many references and he is a key piece for us.
Do you think that your selection, the media coverage that it is going to have, can serve to further promote women’s mountain biking?
I think that it is increasingly on the rise and you see more and more girls riding bikes and even a lot of women’s cycling equipment.
What result would you form before starting to compete in the Tokyo Olympic event?
In the end you have to be realistic, and today I have between ten and fifteen very strong runners ahead of me, but the race is one day and you have to work on it, and luck always intervenes, you have to work on it. Why can’t my big day be like Carlos Coloma’s bronze in the 2016 Rio Games?
You have to be realistic, and today I have between ten and fifteen very strong runners ahead of me, but the race is one day and you have to work on it, and luck always intervenes,
And, if you had to choose a wheel in the race, what would it be?
I also don’t have a 100% wheel to choose from. There are quite a few runners who can go very fast. Loana Lecomte is going very fast. There are also Jolanda Neff or Pauline Ferrand-Prévot there are quite a few.
And, finally, do you already have somewhere in your house to put the diploma or the medal?
Well, you have to keep your feet on the ground. You have to have the attitude of being able to achieve it, but you have to keep working and the race will put each of us in our place.
Rocío has a great track record, both in cyclo-cross, in the mountains and on the road
2014 – Spanish Junior Mountain Bike Champion
2015 – Junior Spanish Champion in the three disciplines: cyclo-cross, mountain bike and road
2015 – 22nd in the World Cyclocross
2016 – 59th in the Women’s Giro d’Italia
2017- Spanish Mountain Bike Sub-23 Cycling Championship.
2018 – Bronze medal in the XCO European Championship under 23 category
2018 – Champion of Spain XCO sub-23
2019 – Spanish XCO U23 Champion
2020 – XCO Elite Spanish Champion