Stefan Denifl speaks about 2011 season, turbulent year at Leopard Trek
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stefan Denifl speaks about 2011 season, turbulent year at Leopard Trek

by Xylon van Eyck at 6:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Austrian moving to Vacansoleil, glad to have found form in the second half of the year

Stefan DeniflStefan Denifl will be changing teams for the third straight season after a move to Vacansoleil-DCM was confirmed last week. The Austrian moved to Leopard Trek this year after turning professional with the Cervélo Test Team in 2010. He got to the attention of the test team management in 2009 when he won the under 23 race Thüringen-Rundfahrt, along with finishing eighth overall in his national tour.

“I was talking to one of the [Cervélo] Sports Directors at the Tour of Austria in 2009,” he told VeloNation. “Some weeks later I got an invitation to Swiss to do some sport medical tests and from there it was all going the right way and I signed my contract. It was a great team and I had a perfect start in my first year as a real pro.”

The 24 year old quickly repaid the Cervélo Test Team for the faith instilled in him through impressive top ten finishes in stages of Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia, Vuelta Castilla y Leon, Tour de Romandie, Bayern Rundfahrt and Critérium du Dauphiné.

When asked by VeloNation what kind of rider he is, he believes he needs more time to answer that. “That’s a good question. Maybe I am still developing and I need one or two more years to find out which type of races I am made for,” he said.

“I can climb well, I like to ride aggressively and I can sprint from smaller groups. I like stage races too because I feel my body has a fast recovery that’s very important for [stage races]. I have to achieve everywhere and I believe I have potential, which is just waiting to get out with the right training and in the right environment.”

This year hasn’t quite gone to plan for Denifl with Leopard Trek. The first half of the season was very average with no results to speak of. He started showing his potential again in the Tour of Austria when he narrowly missed out on victory, finishing third on stage five.

His season started gaining momentum after that, with a top ten finish on stage three of the Tour of Denmark, but it was a fifth place in the GP de Montréal and ninth behind winner Philippe Gilbert in GP de Wallonie that will give him confidence going into next year with Vacansoleil-DCM.

“It was a year with up and downs, to be honest. I think I did my job as a helper very well and the team was happy. I had some bad crashes from where I suffered a lot and had serious problems mid-season with regards to sitting on the saddle. I wasn’t feeling at my top level the first half of the year because of all those troubles.

“I was in quite a few breakaways and I really enjoyed that. Even a win is missing this year, but especially at the end of the season, I was showing my potential like I did in GP Montreal. All in all it was a good year and we had a lot of fun with racing. I learned much for the future.”

Staying healthy over winter is a priority along with clocking up hours in the saddle after a deserved break. Denifl also hopes to make his second appearance in a Grand Tour next year, something he says is paramount for his development as a cyclist.

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