World Cycling Centre BMX trainee Stefany Hernandez: “I know what I want”
Stefany Hernandez, 22, hails from Venezuela. But for the last two years, much of her time has been spent at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, under the wing of WCC coach and former two-time Elite World Champion Thomas Allier.
After a disappointing performance at the 2012 London Olympics, where she failed to make the final, and a shoulder operation at the beginning of 2013, the young Venezuelan has stepped up a gear. She is more focused with her training and more determined than ever. She was therefore not surprised to claim third in the opening round of the 2014 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester two weeks ago. The final was won by World Champion Caroline Buchanan (Australia).
Winter training pays off
“I would have liked to win but I am happy. I knew I was in good shape. After my shoulder operation I started from zero. But we have done some good work. It is the first time in my life that I have trained seriously in winter.”
Benefitting from the programme sent through by Thomas, Stefany trained with the Venezuelan national team throughout the off-season and arrived back at the WCC in March in good shape.
She is working harder than ever and enjoying every minute of it: “I love what I do. When you do what you want, what you love and you are sure of yourself it is just so cool. If you give a 100% in training and preparation you can do anything on race day. I am always relaxed at races.”
If 2014 has started off with a bang, nobody could say that 2013 was a disaster. Despite her operation, Stefany managed to get back into shape for the World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand last July. After recording the third fastest qualifying time, she fell in the final and finally finished in seventh place.
“Everything happens for a reason and maybe I didn’t deserve to win,” she reasons with hindsight. “I am a lot more serious now, more focused and I have identified what I really want.”
Aiming for Rio 2016
And what she really wants is to make the top five of the 2014 UCI Ranking and to win the World Championships (in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, July 23-27), not to mention gold in Rio.
Thomas Allier confirms that Stefany will continue to improve: “She has realised what she needs to do to achieve her ambitions. She worked hard back in Venezuela with her coach and her results so far this season are an indicator of her true level. We aim to hold on to that continuity from year to year to be at her peak in 2016. She still has enormous potential to progress further.”
From this week, Stefany and her fellow trainees are able to train on the new Supercross track which has just been constructed in the grounds of the WCC.
“It is magnificent,” says Stefany, her eyes shining after her first ride over the new track. “It is just so cool.”
That’s called job satisfaction.