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Exploring limits: Kilian Jornet tells Tour de France winner what motivates him most

Jonathan Turner
News Director
Updated on
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Ultrarunning legend Kilian Jornet has told Tour de France and Olympic gold medal winner Geraint Thomas that it is “bigger projects” where he can “explore the limits” which currently motivate him most of all.

The star duo chat all things endurance sport and beyond in the latest edition of the ‘Geraint Thomas Cycling Club’ podcast.

‘A bit of pride’

Jornet has won pretty much every ultrarunning race that matters – many multiple times and in record-breaking fashion – and asked what he has planned for the next couple of years his answer suggested that he’s now using those sort of events as stepping stones for bigger challenges.

He explained: “I love racing and racing is a big part of me. It’s a very easy way to keep motivated. To have good races in the calendar is the easiest way to ensure that you will be in shape.

“[But] I think before it was more like I want to win this race and this race and this race – and it was something that motivated me enough to put all the season to that.

Kilian Jornet wins UTMB 2022 copyright UTMB
Kilian Jornet wins UTMB again in 2022 in record-breaking style [Photo credit: UTMB]

“And now I feel that I have accomplished that so it’s more that if I show up to a race, I want to win. So it’s like, I would say, a bit of pride.

“So races (are more) to keep training well and then to have big projects to kind of have fun and explore what are the limits of what I can do.”

What’s next for Kilian Jornet?

The perfect example of that came last October after injury had ruled Jornet out of his intended race schedule, including the defence of his UTMB crown. He instead announced his ‘comeback’ in typical style with a staggering challenge which saw him summit all 177 peaks over 3,000 metres in the Pyrenees, where he grew up, in just over eight days.

That totalled nearly 500km and 43,000 metres of elevation and Jornet told Thomas: “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I was so exhausted but it was so cool. That was very fun.”

The podcast also features the duo talking about cycling as well as extreme sports, with Kilian saying him climbing Mount Everest “is like a hike” compared to Alex Honnold free-solo climbing El Capitan!

Jornet is yet to reveal his big targets for 2024 but he’s spent much of the first couple of months doing plenty of backcountry skiing in Norway where he’s now based.

He’s also been racking up the elevation with treadmill runs on Zwift, one of the more recent of which also saw him watch the livestream of Transgrancanaria at the weekend where Romania’s Raul Butaci held off Jornet’s Spanish compatriot Miguel Heras while the great Courtney Dauwalter defended her women’s title.

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  

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