Here a little update from my racing over the last two weeks. Two very busy weeks with good results and memories of some great events and adventures that will last forever. My project about racing the UCI Marathon World series races is in progress and has finally been launched.
Last weekend (31.03.19) I started at the UCI Marathon World Series Scott Marathon in Cambrils, Spain and I did Sunday’s UCI Marathon World Series race Roc Laissagais in Laissac, France.
Cambrils was a very special race with no typical marathon distance. We had to fight 62km with 1200 meters of elevation. The fact of the short distance and the very little climbing made it a very difficult for me in order to reach a good result. Nevertheless, I focused like always on the race and tried to come up with the best possible tactic for the day. I wanted to give it all to get close to the podium. The event was also a bit special as the national TV station in Luxembourg RTL followed me with their camera crew during the event (see the link to video below). I think this is so cool that people start to notice what I am doing on my MTB, after only a little more than a year since I started to represent Luxembourg in cycling. Luxembourg as a little country is really mad about cycling and sports in general, and I am so happy to show of the colours of my nation around the world by wearing my outfit as the national champion.
This is how my race went:
The first 15km were very flat and only the wind caused major problems in the start. When entering narrow passages I found myself caught behind a crash, dropping me down around the 20th position. The guys from DMT racing with former world champion, Tiago Ferreira were really fast to “pick” up and they went “flat out” for the next 10km in the wind. I tried to fight back, but it remained really difficult to catch up with the guys in front.
As we started climbing after 15km I started to move up the ranks and I could see the front of the race not too far away. I gave it all for the next hour, but it was just not enough to get back. Ferreira won in front of his team mate Hans Beking and the 2017 European champion Peeter Pruus on the 3rd spot. I was located in a small group fighting for the 4th position in a sprint. Unfortunately I had to be satisfied with a 6th place in the end. Not a bad result, but of course, I had hoped for better.
After Cambrils it was time to refocus and get ready for the next event: The UCI World Series “Roc Laissagais” in southern France.
90km and 3400 meters of elevation were on the menu that day. Those knowing a little about distance and elevation can surely figure out what these numbers mean: a complete crazy track. In other words: a race that would fit me great! Really strong riders figuring on the start list, Urs Huber (BULLS) Juri Ragnoli (Scott Italia) Sascha Weber (Rocky Mountain) Sebastian Carabain (Merida) and many more.
We started early in the morning with temperatures lying around only 1 degree celsius. So really difficult to figure out which clothes to wear and what to bring for the race. It had been raining all night which was another factor that would play a major role in the end. My tactic for the race was to keep calm and not go too hard during the first 2 hours. Immediately after the start, Urs Huber, Sascha Weber and few others went off like a gun. I played my tactic as I said and just let them go. I raced like this for the first 2,5 hour, sitting around the 10th position. With 45km to go I had a gab of almost 3 minutes to the front. Then it was time to get that diesel engine started if I wanted to bring a good result back home. So did I: I looked at my watch, checked the time with the kilometres and the amount of elevation that were left. Around 2000m of elevation I know from experience that something starts to happen to the body. No matter how fit you are the body and mind starts to tell you that it’s enough. I knew that the same would happen to my opponents. So I more or less set the pace like I know I could do for another 2,5 hours without burning my “engine” completely off. Every time we passed a feed station my “person” helper I brought to the event told me the time difference to the front. And every time I cut another time gab off and got closer to the podium. With 15 km to go I could see myself catch back German Sascha Weber in 3th position and only a few km later the Swiss champion Urs Huber from Team Bulls. Now with only 10 km to go chasing like a mad man to get back up to the guy in front, Italian Juri Ragnoli. Ragnoli is two times former Italian champion in Marathon and one of the absolute best riders in the world. With only 7km to go, his lead was down to less than a minute and I was positive minded believing that a victory could still be possible. The last 5 km into the finish area though were more or less flat and I could not make a big difference here. Nevertheless, arriving on 2nd position in the centre of Laissac was really cool as well. I couldn’t help myself being a little disappointed just after the race. But having in mind beating a field of world class riders really boosts my moral to get back for more! A LOT MORE!!
The upcoming weeks I will be racing in Germany (Kellerwald Bike Marathon) and the week after in Belgium (La Hallonienne), the place where only Mathieu Van der Poel could beat me in last year’s race. The next UCI World series race will be “Roc d’Ardenne” on the 5th of May in Houffalize, Belgium.
Articles and news/video from the races:
RTL TV report: https://www.rtl.lu/sport/cyclissem/a/1327870.html
Thanks for all your support and greetings from Luxembourg!