The winner of the RETTO 2013 Award is:
JUAN JOSÉ MÉNDEZ FERNÁNDEZ from the PIRATAS team.
Catalan cyclist born in Barcelona the 27th March in 1964.
His arm and legs were amputee after a traffic accident but he hasn’t stop to surprise us in all possible directions, specially in human and sport aspects.
With the help and support from Sisquillo (Cipollini’s bike mechanic, among others) he started to cycle back again. This year he won the Gold medal in the time trial race in the Para-cycling World Championships (Baie-Comeau, Canada). He beat himself, as he was Bronze medal in the same race in Denmark 2011. He’s been also on the last three Paralympics Games (Athenas 2004, Pekin 2008 and London 2012) where he won two Silver medals and one Bronze.
He’s now 50 years old and all these victories are the reward to 30 years training. Probably his obstinate and persistant character is the key to keep cycling forward and beat his own challenges. He is a clear example of what you can reach if you are made of determination, sacrifice and if you are always in a good mood. He enjoys helping others to surpass the mental and physics barriers they can find after tragic experiences in the past, like he did.
This is what he was doing the day we met him to announce he was the 2013 Retto winner Award. He was helping and teaching how to ride a bike in the Velodrome in Horta (Barcelona) to one guy from Segovia who had recently lost his leg. We are not very sure if he was listening to us very carefully, he was paying more attention and checking how the new cyclist was learning to feel independent again and beat the fear to fly by himself with a bike.
Juanjo Méndez, alongside with Raquel Acinas, another olimpic cyclist member from the Piratas Team, are the leading roles on the documentary “IMPARABLES”. On the film you can watch the personal histories of these Paralympic cyclists and the rest of members from the club where Juanjo and Raquel train every day with their coach Bernat Moreno in the Velodrome in Horta (Barcelona).
You can find more information and keep updated about Juanjo in the following links: