It comes in the form a shock. A key moment which rocks everything, for the worst as for the better. This key moment generates passions, desires and even dreams. We’ve all felt that sensation, more or less. We either don’t take action, hang on to only the sensation or we change gears and we move forward, we go for it! We all know by heart the sayings “better late than never” or “age is just a number”.
The story is simple. Imagine a hyperactive kid, filled with energy. The only way to channel it? Practice La Petite Reine (cycling). Thanks to his parents, Steve Chainel at age 6 will have padaled for the first time in his life.
In parallel, we have a French professional athlete who rubs shoulders with the best in the world in cyclocross. This technical and explosive discipline, which makes you go from a dirt road to gravel, and finally through a body of water. This is an average day of the cyclist Dominique Arnould.
These two are linked by destiny. Here is the key moment.
In 1993, Steve at the age of 10 years approached Dominique, who was recently crowned Cyclocross world champion in Italy. An autograph and a tap on the head later, the kid sees his future flash before his eyes. The kind of gesture that marks a young spirit. A movement that upsets the ordinary and turns a sport into passion. It is this day that Steve Chainel found his SWITCH. It was that moment that marked his 'switch' and which will outline his entire career as a professional cyclist. “There is no age” to switch.
From that moment forward, Steve's only goal has been to practice cyclocross and take titles, like his idol did. The title of champion of France attracted him particularly, and will become his ultimate dream. He went professional. He eats the wind and performs for his team leaders. He juggles between road cycling on sunny days and cyclocross in the winter.
Throughout his career, he tripped over several rocks ... the so-called Francis Mourey who scours almost all trophies at the national level. No stranger to effort and too proud to give up, Steve Chainel progresses by dominating great events and continues to invest in his dream: to become Champion of France.
He grabs the bull by the horns, abandons road cycling to devote himself 100% to cyclocross. He gathers his energy, his network and builds his own team under the name Team Chazal-Canyon. They travel Europe and the world to participate in the best races and flux the biggest cyclo crossman. Self-sacrifice and motivation are the keys to achieving one's dream.
"Even if nothing is easy, you have to pursue your goal and never let go ..." insists Steve
January 14, 2018, Steve Chainel is focused: the championships of France are held in Quelneuc. He will never forget... his idol Dominique, a pat on the head, the efforts, the passion of this sport... and his dream for which he has worked so hard for so many years ... In the afternoon and after 25 years of waiting, the kid reached his ultimate goal. He will wear a jersey with blue-white-red stripes... “It's never too late.”
Now, Steve Chainel is no longer that young admirer of Dominique Arnould he once was. The years have passed, he has hardened, he has fought, he stayed true to himself... And above all, he never let anything go. The roles remain the same but the protagonists have changed. Steve is the true French leader of cyclocross, a sport to which he gave so much. He went from fan to idol for an entire generation. He is living proof of perseverance despite all difficulties and that time waits for no one.