That was a really hard opening of the season. Full gas from kilometer zero. 40 men away early. Not even time for the obligatory nature break. Five hours with the lower handlebars. At the Vuelta Ciclista de la Region de Murcia there were only a few riders at the end within the time limit. I came in as 26th and really had to go deep. At the Almeria on Sunday it was a little easier. Actually I would have wished it was the other way around. That is, a flatter race to start off with and then the hillier one. But I am actually pretty satisfied with how it went and don’t regret stopping off in Spain on my way to the Algarve.
In the meantime I am in Portugal. We spent seven hours in the team car and will acclimatize ourselves here, before on Wednesday I start my first real form test, complete with time trial. I have already won this stage race, so I have good feelings for this race and the great region.
The time of the dry run is over. Tomorrow it all starts again, finally. At the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia Costa Calida and on Sunday the Clasica de Almeria. I will be looking to find my race rhythm before it really starts to count at the Algarve Tour on Wednesday. I am very satisfied with my preparations.
After the mild weather on Mallorca, I am now in the winter paradise Obergurgl to recover. I am also using the benefits of the altitude to find quiet and relaxation and to stimulate my body. I do have my roller with me, but mainly I want to chill, as they say, before I jump into the season in Murcia.
Are you a little bit jealous when you see this photo? You should be. The weather on Mallorca the last three weeks has been the way I remember it – mild temperatures and sun. In the last few years it has been risky to fly to "Malle" in January, because there has often been rain and uncomfortable temperatures. But now the love is there again.
3.075,13 Euro! Many thanks to everyone who took part in the Albert Schweitzer Kinderdorf Erfurt donation campaign. Together we raised more than 200 Euro more than last year. Fantastic. Of course I will again pay all costs, so that the total sum goes to the kids.
I received a lot of feedback about my comment of yesterday. I even got a phone call from a UCI’s representative who took the time to clarify how the process had been handled. I now understand that the UCI is managing this case in accordance with the rules and that Chris Froome did not get any special treatment.
I am totally angry. There is definitely a double standard being applied in the Christopher Froome case. Other athletes are suspended immediately after a positive test. He and his team are given time by the UCI to explain it all. I do not know of any similar case in the recent past.
As of today I am in training camp, the weather is good and we can train really well. I am happy to see the team again after the winter break and to learn the new teammates. Of course I already know one of them pretty well – my old friend Marcel Kittel ;-) The atmosphere is very good and everyone is motivated.
As you can see, I am hard at it again. I started training the beginning of November and am now on Mallorca, where our first team meeting starts in the coming days. I arrived a few days early with my family. We celebrated our daughter’s first birthday here – incredible how fast the time goes by!
What a celebration of cycling! The fans provided an incredible mood at the Münsterland Giro. I could enjoy it from pretty much kilometer one in the lead group. Unfortunately we were gathered in again 20 km before the finish, but I am satisfied. Because of the wind, there wasn’t any more to do.
I am not, and cannot be, satisfied with the results in the individual time trial. My performance was not that which I had planned. My stated goal was to have the best time at the foot of the climb. I didn’t do that. I was not able to go really deep. The though of the climb that was coming inhibited me.
You might not think it from the results, but I got a lot of motivation from the team time trial. My form is super. I feel really fit for the first time this season. And I will go so far as to say that with legs like this I have already become World champion. The time trial tomorrow is not that long and the climb at the end is pretty steep...
The World Championships finally start tomorrow with the team time trial. Today we looked at the course – and I was positively surprised. Compliments to the organizers. There are a lot of curves, but you can ride them all at tempo if it stays dry. It is like a roller coaster.
The first two stages here at the Tour of Britain were marked by hectic sprint finals, in which we worked for Alexander Kristoff. We didn’t have any luck but we will try again. Of course we want to win at least one stage here, but it is equally important for a rider like me, who will start in the World Championships, to get some racing in.
After the Tour finale I am finally home again with my family. It is great to see the two of them again after so long. I am enjoying it very much. As for the Tour, I must honestly draw a sobering conclusion, although it was also one of my best participations. The mood within the team was outstanding...
After feeling run down the last few days and even had some chills, I am now again able to attack. Yesterday I was underway a short while and today I tried my luck about 60 km before the finish. However, the category 1 climb proved to be too much for me, especially since my previous escape group contained some good climbers...
I will make it quick. Of course the result is disappointing, since I had planned on riding into the yellow jersey. In the last three kilometers I just didn’t have the punch to be able to defend the gap had built up. I must accept how the race turned out. We had a well-deserving winner. And I won’t hang my head.
Tomorrow is the day. Tour start in Germany! I am happy to be part of it and proud of what we have accomplished in the last years. The Tour starts in Germany and it is the most important cycling event in the world. German cyclists enjoy a very good reputation.
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.
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.