Guillaume Martin, philosopher cyclist
In this Article
Published on December 3, 2022
If we are to believe his numerous radio and television appearances, Guillaume Martin cultivates a Nietzschean approach to effort. Didn't you understand? Neither do we. Nevertheless, the native of the Orne region, with his emaciated face and thick hair, has the singular gift of captivating his audience. At the microphone of Charline Vanhoenackeror on the setof Yann Barthès, Guillaume makes the head as much as he makes the legs go round. Like Thierry Dusautoir (rugby engineer), N'Golo Kanté (soccer accountant) or Yohann Diniz (wine walker), Guillaume Martin has fun blurring the lines, and, it must be said, we at The Cyclist House are quite a fan.
Guillaume Martin at the Tour de France - Photo: La Voix du Nord
"You can't make philosophy like you make pasta carbonara.
No doubt, Guillaume Martin has a sense of the formula - who said that the practice of philosophy was incompatible with that of humor? Born in 1993 in Normandy, Guillaume le Conquérant attended high school in the sports-study section. master in philosophy at the University of Paris-Nanterre. He started riding as an amateur in 2006, before being spotted in 2012 by Sojasun, which offered him a trainee contract in the professional team in 2013. His debut as a pro rider dates back to 2016. Today, and since 2020, Guillaume Martin is the leader of the Cofidis team.
"The desire (to wear the yellow jersey) is the essence of a man."
More than a Spinozian, climber Martin harbors a Nietzschean - which does not make him a superman! From a very young age, Guillaume found concrete considerations in Friedrich's thought, in line with the demanding (ascetic?) lifestyle imposed by cycling. About his sport, Martin speaks of "a glimmer of pleasure in an ocean of suffering", of "a state of grace" and of "beatitude", all notions that are reminiscent of the ecstasy of the long-distance runner dear to Murakami.
A model of versatility and "unconquerability", a proponent of a joyful exploration of the body and the mind, for his taste too long dissociated (in particular by the Cartesian current), in short, of a surpassing of oneself in joy and in good sweat, Guillaume Martin can boast at 29 years old, not only a healthy mind in a healthy body, but also a a record of achievements to be envied. 8e of the Tour of Catalonia in 2019, 3e of the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2020 (ahead of ucertain... Tadej Pogačar), 6e of Paris-Nice, 8e of the Tour de France (first French), 9e of the Tour of Spain in 2021... Winner of the Circuit de la Sarthe in 2018 and the Tour de l'Ain in 2022, he is known beyond the Pyrenees (and beyond) for having won the white jersey with blue polka dots of best climber on the roads of the Vuelta in 2020.
"Just to say I'm the nerd in the peloton, it bugs me."
Guillaume Martin - Photo: Ekoi Racing
Constantly progressing since his debut, Guillaume Martin is, with Cédrine Kerbaolhis colleague at Cofidis, is part of the very small club of high-level athletes who have succeeded in reconciling university studies with the demands of competition. Does this give him a special status? Without trying to be the standard-bearer of any cause, Martin is considered a committed athleteHe does not hesitate to take a stand against doping or for ecology. Just like the Movement for a credible cyclingan association of which he and his team are members, he is in favor of banning ketones, substances used as food supplements by some teams. He is the first to criticize the "double standards" from which, in his eyes, his sport continues to suffer, due to the clichés attached to it - and which he strives to combat.
"The cyclist in his effort is an animal.
After writing a summer column in the newspaper Le Monde and wrote a play, Plato Vs. Platoche (2019), Guillaume Martin has published two books with Grasset,Socrate à vélo (2020) and The society of the peloton (2021). In the first, he imagines Nietzsche, Pascal, Socrates, Sartre, Plato, Aristotle and a few other "velosophists", as he likes to call them, fighting for victory in the Tour de France; in the second, he suggests that we think of society as a peloton of cyclists - with its leaders and its team members (its executives and its executors), its power games and its exchanged services.
Guillaume Martin, 2020. Socrates on a bicycle,Grasset
Whether he likes it or not, Guillaume Martin is part of a long tradition of literary cyclists - or thinkers on bicycles? Who has forgotten Laurent Fignontwice winner of the Tour, nicknamed "l'Intello" because of (among other things) his long hair and his small rimmed glasses? Antoine Blondinthe novelist-journalist who raised the cycling chronicle to the rank of a literary jewel? Closer to us, Éric Fottorino and his Small praise of the bicycle ? Olivier Haralambon and The runner and his shadow ? Or recently, the writers Aurélien Bellanger and Jean-Acier Danès ?
To go further
Guillaume Martin, cyclist philosopher. The Paths of PhilosophyJanuary 3, 2020 issue.
What if cycling taught us how to live in society? The Big Table ideasbroadcast on November 25, 2021.
What can the body do? With the philosopher and cyclist Guillaume Martin. Under Plato's sun, broadcast on July 25, 2022.
Guillaume Martin, cycling champion: "Our activity is a form of luxury." Reporterrearticle of November 17, 2022.