In the Hautes-Pyrénées, in Tostat, Alain Guinle discovered his talents as a model maker as he made plastic figurines bearing the effigy of his favorite runners. A different way of living your passion for cycling.
What do Julien Alaphilippe have in common, who catches the fork of El Diablo in 2018; Mathieu Van der Poel posing like his grandfather Raymond Poulidor decades earlier; or this same Poupou wrestling with Jacques Anquetil, bikes on his back, during the 1966 Fontenay-sous-Bois cyclo-cross? All these scenes were reproduced in plastic figurines by Alain Guinle.
At 65, the Tostatais, well known in the pedal industry for having amassed two world titles and two Europeans (not counting national and regional!), Mainly in cyclo-cross, has kept a child’s soul. For the past few months, this emeritus sportsman has been devoting himself to creation. Always linked to his passion for cycling, of course. “I started doing it last year, during confinement, I had only that to do, smiles the person concerned. And little by little, it evolved. ”
Containment as a starting point
The click, he had it by wanting to personalize one of his many trophies: a cup on which sits a runner repainted for the occasion with the colors of the Amicale laïque de Tostat, club where he took his first license. in 1972.
From this first attempt, a whole process of improvement followed. So much so that today, the method is well established. Equipped with a printer and 3D scanner, Alain Guinle can model runners’ postures as they wish, reproducing scenes of the history of cycling. Some are even boxed with the photo of the place as a backdrop. This is the case, for example, with the duel between Wout Van Aert and Mathieu Van der Poel on the beach in Ostend in January during the cyclo-cross world championships. “It’s more DIY than artistic work,” he says modestly, presenting his pieces. I had to learn to use the software by reading right to left, watching tutorials on the internet as well. ”
“For a piece, it’s 10 hours of work, double for the most complicated”
With 120 creations already on the counter, the retiree does not set limits. “I walk in love, as soon as I see a photo that I like, I go for it.” And his frenzy has not gone unnoticed, especially on Facebook, where he publishes his creations on his profile. “People like it yes, I get a lot of requests.” That he cannot honor all of them even if it is with pleasure that he responded positively to Fem van Empel, the very recent Dutch up-and-coming cyclo-cross world champion, who wished to have her little figure. “You have to realize that for a piece, it’s 10 hours of work, double for the most complicated.”
In his small shed, after having printed his models, Alain Guinle refines his piece of plastic which comes to life with his brushes, his mini-pots of paint etc … Not far from there, a whole bunch of photos are scattered. Magazines are also lying around, just to be always on the lookout. After Mark Cavendish, his hands on his helmet during his victory on the 6th stage of the Tour in Châteauroux last week, Alain Guinle will certainly set his sights on Tim Declercq very soon. “He’s the deceuninck-Quick Step rolling beast, haven’t you seen the shoulders he has?” He exclaims.
Before leaving, one last glance at the exhibition window. Like a good Pyrenean, Alain Guinle has of course his mini Bruno Armirail somewhere. “He’s there, there you go, besides after the Tour, I intend to see him to give it to him.”