Thank you all for your nice greetings after the race here at Lanzarote!!!
I had a super nice week with some great racing on the volcanic island of Lanzarote at the UCI Stage race “4 stage MTB Lanzarote” Pwb Club La Santa!
Best of all was to proof that all the hard work this winter has payed of and that I am already now on a really high level for when the season starts in northern Europe!
Like you know I ended up on the 2nd place overall after Spanish Cross Country star Sergio Mantecon (Trek Factory Racing) The last spot on the podium went to Austrian XCO Champion Karl Markt. Actually this was the exact same overall result as in 2017, so that is a good indication of the start of a new great season.
55 sec. was all I was missing in order to beat Mantecon, and that after 4 days of hard battle on the rocky island of Lanzarote. But I think we gave a great show to the spectators and the organisers of the race. Every day people was telling me how they would race if they were in my position, so that was quit fun.
During the 4 days of racing I and my team tried all we could to get Mantecon “off” the podium, but in the end he was just a little too strong.
I knew I only had two chances to beat Mantecon: Stage 1 and 3. The rest of the stages was simply impossible to ride away alone due to the wind and not much climbing. On stage 1 I attacked like a crazy and actually I got almost a minnute gab to Mantecon and the rest of the guy`s. But in the end the 42 km alone in the super windy conditions was to hard to ride all alone. I finished the stage in 2nd position but still 7 sec. in front of Mantecon.
Stage 3 was like every year a 50 min. time trial. I had really hoped that the wind would be less on this stage, but instead we had like crazy storm on the whole stage. On this stage I came in 2nd again around 1 min. after Mantecon. I knew this was my last chance if I wanted to win, so on stage 4 there was nothing else to do than execept my 2nd. position in the overall.
We had a great week at Lanzarote and all the guys I invited with me to Lanzarote did all they could to help out for a good overall result. Special thanks to Christian Pfäffle(GER) (Stevens Racing), Gerben Moss (NED), Greg Saw (AUS) and Bjarki Bjarnasson (ICE).
The race this year has been signed up as UCI stage race event which counts for the UCI Cross Country ranking, means that all the best riders from Spain, Portugal etc. had found their way to this event. All 4 stages was raced with a super high pace and sometimes it made me think back to my road days. Every day was a fight to stay in the front on the small and narrow roads, but it worked out every day and I believe I have to be happy with my 2nd overall.
The plan for the next few weeks is now to have a little “rest” (a billion of KM`s on the bike back home in Luxembourg -J)
After my national cyclo-cross champion title in Luxembourg and all the winter cross racing, I think it is good to focus for some weeks on proper quality training in order to be at my best level for when the season starts for real in northern Europe.
Review from Spanish TV of the 2018 "4 Stage MTB Lanzarote"
Here some articles from the race from around the world:
Video from every stage:
Final overview of the whole race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3e0wNQWKOlg
All for now!! -See you around!!