At the age of fourteen, trying to get out of taking a test at school, Tomáš attempted to take part in a bike race. He wound up finishing seventh in his first race. While at the races, he met a recruiter for track cycling and he went to check out his first track training. “The bikes has no brakes. It’s very dangerous. I will never do this, they are fools,” he said. However, after he left his first training, he knew he had fallen for the track racing forever.
A series of successes followed in 2012. Unfortunately, Tomas was depressed and not handling the success well. One day, he was suddenly hit by a car. He wound up in a coma, unable to explain exactly what had happened. The doctors did not give him much chance of survival. When he had escaped the worst, they told him he would never be able to play sports again. Tomas refused to accept the diagnosis. “It’s all about setting the mind. If you give up on yourself and accept the conclusions of others, you have lost. And I didn’t want to,” declares Tomáš, who decided to get back in the saddle after just three months.
Through sheer determination, Tomas was able to get back to his racing pace, but he still was not at his best. His club began to give him fewer and fewer opportunities and less money. “Do you understand that if you don’t bring the medal next time, we’ll have to kick you off the team?” his coach asked him. Yes, he knew it. He did not think of the next race as his last chance. He just wanted to try his best, to give it everything he had. The first race did not go well for him. To win, he would have to set a track record on his second run. He succeeded! When he looked up and saw the board with the final time, he could not believe his eyes. He had won! He was the European Champion! Then, a year later, he won silver at the World Championships and become the overall World Cup winner.
In addition to the national team, Tomas raced as one of the few Europeans for Japanese Keirin, where it is literally a combat sport. Every year, around eight billion dollars are waged on races there. Elbows, squeezing, kicking; everything is allowed in Keirin. “Before the race, you will be confiscated by all communication devices so that you cannot influence bets. You are completely isolated from the outside world. You just eat, sleep and race,” Tomáš explains. But now he just wants to fully concentrate on preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, so he has had to put Keirin aside.
“Had it not been for the accident, I would never have been where I am now. It motivated me so much,” says Tomáš. The difficult life situation taught him to humble himself, to never give up and pursue his dream, whatever it may be.
— Tomáš Bábek’s photoshoot took place in the Koa Squad bike-fitting studio, with which we closely cooperated in designing an ideal sitting position. 3D biomechanical motion analysis was performed on the Retül during measurement. The result makes up the data that allows the components to be set up correctly, allowing the cyclist to sit more comfortably, transfer energy more efficiently and, last but not least, to prevent health problems.