Hektor Llanos, Iñigo Mujika and Eneko Llanos

Hektor Llanos, Iñigo Mujika and Eneko Llanos.

Long Distance Triathlon World Championships will be raced in Vitoria-Gasteiz in a couple of months. The fact that this important event takes place over here is in a great part due to the impulse given to the sport by Vitoria-Gasteiz born triathletes Hektor and Eneko Llanos over the past few years. I have been fortunate to spend ten years collaborating with them as a coach and physiologist, between 2002 and 2011, and although I am no longer in charge of their preparation (Hektor has now given up the sport as a pro and Eneko has taken his training in his own hands in 2012), I am extremely proud of what we have achieved together over the years, and will continue to rejoice at their sucess, both athletic, professional and personal in the future.

I leave you with a recent interview in relation with the World Championship.

Hektor and Eneko. Their surname in unavoidably attached to triathlon. Both are ‘guilty’ of taking this sport to professionalism in Vitoria and Basque Country, achieving great successes. They are really looking forward to the World Championship to be held in the capital city of Alava. They also hope that after the event there is continuity to it and Gasteiz keeps on being an international reference with some top quality event.

Hektor Llanos, 39. He’s been living the amateur side of Triathlon for two years now, after 21 as a professional. He lives and works in Zarautz, where he owns a business directly related to Triathlon. He won’t take part in the LD World Cup, but he’ll support his brother Eneko.

Eneko Llanos, 35. He is living his sweetest stage as a professional. Is currently preparing the Vitoria LD World Cup, where he is among the favourites.

 The Llanos saga is attached to Triathlon. Although there were some people before, you have been, in a very big way, the promoters of this sport in Vitoria.

H- Well, I started many years ago. At the time I did the three disciplines of the sport separately, I knew then that this sport existed and in the 91 I started and got hooked on it. Eneko did it the following year and, well, up to this day. Before me there were more people, but I must admit that at a more professional level, it was me who started to open that door. We took the needed step to make this sport professional and gave it a bigger popularity, but before the Llanos there were people who already practiced it; even more, I think that a Triathlon event or two had been held in Vitoria.

E- I’m sure that if Hector hadn’t started with Triathlon, I wouldn’t be where I’m now. When I was just a child I fancied swimming, running, riding a bike, but the one who opened the door for me was my brother. I followed him in the races and two years after he started, I decided to make a move.

How have you lived together your progression?

H- I’m not surprised that Eneko has reached this high level. We have shared so many trips and races that to me is something natural. We were both progressing almost at the same pace, until I decided to retire two years ago.

E- As a bigger brother (we have an elder one, Hugo) Hektor has always been my reference. Our evolution has been parallel. Once I reached his same level and we ended the races in the same top positions, it has been a shared progression, inspired and motivated by being and training together.

The most personal side of the Llanos brothers

A music group?

H- I like hard music… Su Ta Gar, Soziedad Alkoholika or Gari, ex vocalist of Hertzainak (all Rock ‘n Roll Basque groups)

E- Very diverse music, but lately I’m listening a lot of Neil Young.

Favourite film?

H- Author films and the ones that make you think. I don’t like commercial films.

E- If I have to point out one, Le grand bleu.

How are you living the crisis?

H- I think it’s a great opportunity to learn how to live under our own true possibilities. We have to take advantage of this to live in a true way, without so much appearance. What the crisis is doing is putting each of us in our place.

E- From the perspective of the Triathlon, it has had an influence, but this has been minor because the sport is in its peak, with a lot of impact and interest.

Convinced vegetarians, doesn’t it clash with elite sport?

E- It’s perfectly compatible. It has to do more with the myth about vegetarians that we just eat lettuce. A well-balanced and varied diet is more than enough for top sport. We’ve been vegetarians for many years and we never had any problems. In fact there are many sportsmen who are vegetarians.

H- I’d say it’s one of the secrets that has helped us to have this performance.

The World Championships in Vitoria-Gasteiz from the perspectivo of the Llanos brothers

Was it a surprise for you that Vitoria was chosen host of the Long Distance World Championship?

H- Not at all for me. The project was thought a long time ago and the objective was to host the World Cup. If you look at the possibilities that Vitoria offers, in the touristic aspect, as well as in the infrastructures to train, it has been a logic progression. I was very happy indeed for the people who organises the World Cup, because they have been many, many years working. At a personal level, a bit sad because I won’t be able to compete; but we have Eneko and I know he is going to do very well, with that extra motivation that gives competing in your place. If he doesn’t win, he’ll be fighting for victory, I’m sure.

That idea that you’re favourite to win, is giving you pressure or do you accept it considering that you are competing in your own city?

E- Well, I try to cover myself from so much euphoria. Sure my intention and goal is to win the World Cup, but let no one think that’ll be easy. It’s top level competition and the demand will be enormous. I try to carry that pressure in the best way and I thank the trust that people have on me, that’s another motivation.

Then the question can be different, are you ready not to win the World Cup?

E- Erm… I’m ready to do my best when the event comes. If I have a good race, without problems and I can perform to my best, then may the result be any. I can be first, second or tenth. I’m ready for whatever comes. Not winning is not the end of the world, as sportsman, you accept that you can’t always win. If I finish satisfied with my race, giving it all to the end, for me it’ll be positive. Maybe we should ask all those who think I’m going to win if they are ready for me not winning. I am, obviously, going to give it all to get it.

H- If Eneko doesn’t win the World Cup or doesn’t end among the first three ones, it’s not a defeat. We are very well used to winning but we must assume that in a World Championship there are the very best, that the average level in Triathlon is really high and that with a good day anyone can win. Winning or losing is part of sport.

And after the World Cup, do you think Vitoria has earned to be a Triathlon international reference and that she could host events regularly?

H- It would be a way of settling a race in Vitoria, a good reason for the people to come to the city and promote tourism as well.

E- I wouldn’t like that after the World Cup, the Vitoria Triathlon would disappear. Once Vitoria is placed on the map at an international level in the world of Triathlon, it’s important that there is a reference event, to give it some kind of continuity.

Share this post


Related posts