Publié le: 18 Juin 2008
En route pour une troisième place à Kona 2007Le podium d'Hawaii 2008

Torbjørn Sindballe : Our sport is excellent training of the body

Photo par Tony Svensson

Traduction(s) : fr

The Danish Torbjørn Sindballe is not necessarily the "gross" we imagine a bicycle, swallowing kilometres without thinking to arrive first at the finish line. The Dane is rather a sensitive and intelligent man, that his sport is changing… unless the contrary!
Meeting with a unique athlete.


Allo Torbjørn, I first want to thank you for your time despite a pretty busy schedule. During the interview, we will talk about everything regarding Torbjørn Sindballe going from your triathlon debut to your 2008 and later objectives passing through all what make a world class athlete like you unique.

Xtriathlon : You did a lot of different sports before triathlon (judo, soccer, basketball…). How did you come to triathlon?
Torbjørn : At first I was introduced to triathlon at the annual kids exercise day in school. At that time I had been swimming for 2 years and since I started a bit too late for a swimmer, I was inspired to move to triathlon soon after. I joined the local club and have been hooked ever since by the challenge of mastering three disciplines in one race as well as the spirit and energy in the sport.

Xtriathlon : Do you have an idol among athletes or even not in the world of sport?
Torbjørn : I do not think I am the idolizing type, but I have several athletes that inspire me. Mark Allen, with his mind/body connection and his very simple yet effective approach to training. Thomas Hellriegel, for the amazing training endeavours he and some of the other Germans completed in the mid nineties truly exploring the limits of human performance.

I can also get inspired by the movement elegance of people like Wilson Kipketer or Miguel Indurain.

If you look more to my core philosophy in life I am a great fan of “Flow”, and try to achieve this by always having clear goals and feedback on everything I do combined with a constant adjustment on of these on a daily level to achieve a feeling of positive excitement.

Xtriathlon : What are your best memories in triathlon and what are your worst?
Torbjørn : Ohh it is hard to choose, but my first World championship in 2004 was very special since I turned a very serious running injury to a world championship in just 3 months. My breakthrough win in ½IM California in 2002 was also very special, it is not every day you get to out run guys like Craig Alexander, Tim Deboom and Cameron Brown. My win in the same race in 2005 is what I would call my most perfect race to date and finally last years 3rd place in Hawaii was special, not only because it is the podium in the biggest race on the planet, but also because I overcame five years of troubles with the heat.

My worst memories are many of the injuries and periods of overtraining I have had. The uncertainty in the beginning of the injury phase is the worst. As soon as you know what´s wrong and how to deal with it, life becomes a lot easier. The worst setback is definitely failing to qualify for the 2006 Ironman World Championships. The race was held on my 30th birthday on the 21st of October and I had set a goal of winning the race on that date three years earlier, so not even qualifying due to overtraining was very frustrating.

I always see it so, that I need to experience the bad times in order to really understand the depth of the good times. A race won easily is nowhere near the feeling of winning race after a good battle with either opponents or headwind in the preparation.

Xtriathlon : Would you say University made a new Torbjørn Sindballe?
Torbjørn : Definitely, studying sports was one big playground on all levels. The environment is fantastic and I suddenly had full access to all the knowledge in the world on my biggest interests. The knowledge on the body and the analytical skills I use everyday was shaped in that period of my life and it was a major motivation to help me move forward.

Xtriathlon : We can see in your race schedule you planned the Danish cycling TT championships. Do you race a lot of cycling races; are you part of a team?
Torbjørn : No, I do a TT once or twice a year, since it a great feeling to really go all out not having to worry about running afterwards, but it is not something I do regularly. Last year I did the TT champs for fun and finished 13th , even beating a few procyclists. So this year I hope to improve a bit on that J

Xtriathlon : Do you learn from TT regarding your position on the bike, material, and test in wind tunnel…?
Torbjørn : No, I would actually say that it is the other way around. These areas are more imbedded in the tri world than the TT world. Just look at all the big brands in cycling now that started as mostly tri brands and all the inventions that Triathletes took up much quicker than cyclists, like the tri bars or disc wheel.

Xtriathlon : Most of top Ironman triathletes live and race in USA. What about you?
Torbjørn : My family and I are very rooted to Denmark and the Danish culture and even though we have discussed moving over from time to time, we have never really found it to be the best solution. We have a really great training setup in Denmark with great coaches, training partners and facilities that I think it would be hard to match and I have also been able to make a living despite Denmark is a small market especially tri-wise. And then the weather makes you tougher.

Xtriathlon : Triathlon is not as popular as cycling or soccer and very few athletes can live from it. Do you manage your career on your own or is there a team looking after you?
Torbjørn : As mentioned above the triathlon community in Denmark is very scarce, so I have been managing myself, sponsors and PR for many years. It has become sort of a business for me since there is so much more to a sponsorship than just the logo on a shirt. I work intensely on product testing and development, motivational speaking and consulting which is a great stimuli to the head and gives food for thought on those long bike rides.

On the other side it is a big challenge to juggle all the management my self and prioritize this around training. Usually I do a lot of sponsorwork in the off season and periods with low training and then I get really focused in the 2-3 months leading up to big races. All my sponsors knows and respect this since they off course want me to do well.

Xtriathlon : You just extended your partnership with your main sponsor (ECCO). Do you have a lot of financial partners?
Torbjørn : The last couple of years I have done reasonably on the sponsorship side and am really happy with the team I have behind me today. In a small niche sport like triathlon and especially coming from a small country it is uphill trying to make a living from sport, so it has been necessary for me to go a little deeper into what I can actually do for a company than what would normally be the norm.

In the future I would love triathlon to be a bigger part of the increased interest in health and exercise. Our sport is excellent training of the body, not just for the fanatics, but also for people who just works out 2-3 times/week.

Xtriathlon : You seem to be deeply involved in the creation of new products for your partners Ecco and Craft. What exactly are your responsibilities in those projects?
Torbjørn : In both cases and also with Argon 18 I am integrated closely into the development process. I am constantly searching for improvement in every little detail and get a lot of ideas that challenge the development teams to come with new better solutions that they benefit from in their collections. Often I am a big part of the brainstorming phase and the come back in during the test phase to see if they have been able to come up with solutions that work in the real world.

Do you have friends among Chris McCormack or the two German Faris Al Sultan and Normann Stadler...
Follow the interview soon...

The informations about Torbjørn
The website of the athlete

> fin de l'article


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