No sand in the transmission
within 24 hours I’m on my way to Doha. From 09th to 16th October 2016 the capital of Qatar will be hosting the UCI Road World Championships. The NOAH SL Ridley my top-notch bike is already packed, together with two spare machines of the same type as well. I travel light, just with my toilet bag and a few casual wear, because the official the German national jerseys I get in Doha. I already got used to the national colors by wearing my jersey of the German Champion the last few months.
Packed was quickly, but to get here it has been a long and hard road. I’m very proud to be a part of the German national team. “Everything for the team” will be our motto for the competition. We will be a strong and ambitious team. And not only the riders. The whole team behind the team will be needed to have a chance. The team and tactic will be set by the sports directors Andreas Klier and Jan Schaffrath. Everyone on the team has a task, that must be meet on and off the track. We ride together as a team only at these international championships, which makes it not easier. But the leader of the BDR have nominated these two very experienced sports directors and now its time to raise our chances with a professional attitude, team work and a race plan that we all consistently follow.
My nomination for captain was the result of an intensive nomination process, but when I got the information, first there was no real feeling of happiness. Of course we are not machines, but as a professional you are always extremely focused on the tasks at hand. And so it’s difficult to turn the head or the thoughts simply on or off. When I’m riding a race it’s a kind of easier, because I have to stay focused all the time to minimize risks and to set the right priorities.
In September 2012, the UCI made the decision that Qatar gets the World Cup 2016. Terrain and climate are well known and so I set this long-term goal for me, to ride this WC. Therefore it was clear that the season 2016 will be of paramount importance. In coordination with the management of Team Lotto Soudal we set four goals/highlights for the season. After a good start I had broken a few ribs during Volta ao Algarve. And so the first goal for the season was gone, because I could not get a good result in the spring classics. After a short break strong performances of my team followed and I could win three stages at Giro d’Italia. Later in June I could reach my second goal of the year. The win of the National Championships brought me even more stability and confidence. With high self-confidence and the new white jersey I went to the Tour de France, my third season highlight. I wanted to win a stage for my team. I tackled the first days very optimistic. After the 3rd stage where I lost so close against Cav, the following days I lost with a big gap to other sprinters. The team and I analyzed the situation to get better results. In the second half of the Tour were just a few sprint finishes and so I used the mountains to get rid of the frustration. Then in the final stage on the Champs Elysées everything fit together perfectly. Finally I was able to achieve the third goal for the season. It was incredible to repeat the stage win from the previous year, specially in the jersey of the German Champion. It’s hard to put in words what i felt in this moment. There was a mix of Adrenaline, joy and happiness. And of course I was so proud that I could justify the trust placed in me. Family, team, friends and fans, we were all united. Of course, we celebrated a little with a few glasses of champagne. And so I could thank a lot of people personally. That was very important to me, because its not often that i get the chance to to this. The fourth milestone of this year was the nomination for the World Cup – as team captain. And the big goal we will set in Doha and then we will tell you more about it.
Everything for the team
(in alphabetical order)
I look forward to do my job for the team and I’m gonna fight for every millimeter when it comes to the sprint finish.