After the Tour of Belgium I flew directly to Nice, where a video taping for Canyon awaited. We got some great pictures on the Formula 1 course and especially in the tunnel in Morocco. I was particularly happy to be here after Sebastian Vettel brought in a German victory here over the weekend. I was perhaps not quite as fast underway as he was ;-) but my wheels did a good job too.
I am very satisfied with the last few days. Even though I missed out on another overall win in Belgium, the third place is not bad in light of my condition. I wanted to expressly prepared myself for the tour and set a few accents. Actually, I was happy that it went so well. I am interested to see how it goes at the Dauphine. There again I will try to set accents and improve myself even further.
Photo: Tino Pohlmann
In yesterday’s stage at the Tour of Belgium I had to go really deep for the first time in a long time. Recently I had been training a lot and quietly, that is classically putting in the kilometers.
Just like last year I took a break after the Classics and am now returning to racing again on May 1. Even though I am still preparing for the highlights in the second half of the season, I will try to be at the start of the Radklassiker in Frankfurt in my best possible form.
My legs are good, I got over the cobbles well and am now looking forward to the next weekends with Flanders and Roubaix. After I took it a little easy after Paris-Nice, the muscles are coming slowly back into form and hopefully will stay there ;-) At Harelbeke I could finish in the first chase group. There was no top result.
That was sure a weekend to forget. Yesterday while in a very promising position, I was involved in mass crash, so that my race was over and today the bad luck struck me again. I was in the group with all the favourites. You could say: everything going well. Then suddenly a strong wave went through the group, from front to back.
Second place, four seconds, but not the end of the world. Of course I am disappointed. I want to win every time I start a time trial. But I am also realistic. It is February and I must still work on my hardness after training rather quietly lately. And Castroviejo is not an unknown factor.
Finally back to the Algarve. It seems like I am here almost every year to ride this great Tour, which I have been able to win two times. In addition to the good organization, the almost family atmosphere, the great landscape and the enthusiastic fans, I especially look forward to the time trial...
After yesterday’s lack of success yesterday, everything went to plan today – except for two small crashes, in which I didn’t hurt myself ;-) I had noted this stage and made myself some plans. From our training camp I especially knew the final climb quite well and knew where I had to attack.
So, the first race of the season with my new team has been run. The result is disappointing but the feeling is very good. One laughing eye and one crying eye, so to speak. We started in the team time trial here at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana over-motivated.
After the snow chaos in Spain, I left there a day early to work on my form on the home trainer at home. We had eight inches (20 cm) of snow within a short time and the traffic was stopped. No one there had snow tires, since it so seldom snows. We fought our way with the team car to the track in Valencia...
Five to seven hours in the saddle, making films, relaxed team evenings. After a few days here in Calpe, we already have a good number of kilometers in our legs. Every day we ride between 150 and 210 kilometers. I am doing a lot better than the first training camp.
Just in time for Christmas I would like to thank everyone who supported the donation action for the Albert-Schweitzer Kinderdorf Erfurt and the Förderverein Erfurter Radsport. A tidy sum of 2800 Euros has come it, with which we will make the children very happy. In the coming year I will let you know exactly how the money will be spend.
Every year the same... Together with you, I would like to raise some money so that Santa Claus can visit the the kids in the Albert-Schweitzer Kinderdorf in Erfurt and put some presents under the tree. If you are looking for very individual present, or just want to gift yourself something, then I would be happy if you make a bid.
Knee bends, exercises, some aching muscles. After a four-week pause, I have gotten back into training. I really took the time off and didn’t do any sport. I would have liked to at least have done some running, but my legs and especially joints need so much time to get used to that stress, that it is really not worth it.
You should leave when things are best. I am carrying this thought with me as I think of my departure from my current team Etixx-QuickStep. The wins in the individual and team time trials at this year’s World Championships were quite literally a golden ending to five great years with my team!
Back home again I had the first chance today on my bike to really realize what has happened the last weeks. I enjoy these m>oments alone, in which you can finally come to peace with the world. I am so very proud of the World Champion titles and especially of that for the individual time trial.
I will put myself totally in the service of the team tomorrow. But even as a helper you have to know how to budget your strength. In my experience, after a time trial you can go really deep only one more time and that is all. That means, when you have really been in the red zone once, you don’t recover like in normal climatic conditions.
At last! I finally have the jersey again. I am overjoyed that next year I can be at the start in the World Champion’s jersey. That makes me prouder than the medal ceremony today. I have felt well here in Qatar from the start and at the team time trial I had already noticed that I coped well with the circumstances.
The World Championship win in the team time trial was incredibly emotional for me. The last race for my current team. The last race with the guys and the staff. I am overjoyed with the win but sad, too, of course. An era is going to an end for me. But at any rate I am ending it successfully. What a way to go out! Thanks for the great time!
After the Eneco Tour, we put in two days of training with the team which will ride the Team Time Trial in Qatar. Like last year we rented an airport runway, to train our formation. It was very productive and also a lot of fun. Speaking of Qatar: After the runway training I traveled directly to Münster,...
Although we lost six seconds yesterday in the team time trial, we are taking a lot of self-confidence from this race with an eye to the World Championships. It was a very harmonious ride and it is no shame to lose to BMC. They had their Worlds team at the start. It is still speculative as to where we lost the seconds.
What Wiggins, Froome, Cavendish and Co have done for cycling on the island is very obvious. The success of those three plus of course the track sprinters have set off a real cycling euphoria. The mood the whole week was unbelievable! And I would say that it was no less than at the Tour de France.
This win is extremely important for my head. I had actually not figure with any top finish today, since the last days were quite difficult. With the race leader in our ranks, I had worked a lot. So I am that much happier to show today that I can still do it ;-) I am very satisfied and also happy that I could call up this sort of performance.
I rode my first race after the Olympic games at the first stage of the Tour of Britain today. It was a fairly unspectacular race and in the finale we weren’t challenged, since we didn’t bring a sprinter. For me, it is the perfect stage race to get back into racing rhythm. And it also the start of the hot phase of Worlds preparation.
I must finally tell you what we did with the money that came in from the auction of my championship jerseys in February. As I promised, it was used for the Albert Schweitzer Kinderdorf in Erfurt. Specifically, a total of 61 persons had a great day at the zoo in Leipzig.
After five years with Etixx - Quick-Step, it is time for a change. And I want to say first: I had a great time with the team and we are parting on good terms. Together we celebrated big successes and I enjoyed being part of the team, on which I had many friends. But I needed something new, in order to continue to be successful.
It is time now for me to leave Rio. I am flying home today. I must honestly say that it is really hard for me to comment on yesterday’s time trial. First I must sit down with myself and analyse what happened. I will look at everything that I have changed recently. That includes my position.
The knee held for three hours and my form is good. That is the short version of my personal conclusions from yesterday. And of course we presented ourselves as a team well. Our tactics worked out. In the beginning I wanted to help Simon get into a group, by making the race fast,...
Hello from Rio. The mood here is impossible to describe. It is simply fantastic to be a part of the Olympics and to have such a great time with many other athletes. Meeting athletes from so many different sports is really special. For cyclists, of course we see a lot of athletes at big events like the Tour, but that is just us and of course our rivals.