Modern cycling is an engineers’ sport. Fans and journalists wax lyrical about the aesthetic qualities, existential depth and romance of cycling, especially when it comes to long breaks in the mountains, but to be really good at it takes an analyst’s understanding of the laws of physics and how the body interacts with them. Even Fausto Coppi on the Col d’Izoard was a case of calories in, wattage out.

That suits Nans Peters just fine, because he is not only a very strong cyclist, but also has a diploma in material science and engineering.

“I like mechanics,” he says. “My dream, if I hadn’t become a pro cyclist, was to be a mechanic or inventor. I like to understand why things work, or why they don’t work, and I’m interested in equipment. I like the scientific side of training. I work closely with my trainer and I like to see the numbers and analyse what is working. I measure all my intervals and watts.”

He adds, “I like everything to work, or I’m not happy.”

You might listen to Nans Peters talking about this dry, objective way of looking

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