Linus Gerdemann video interview: German talent expecting big things after year out of cycling
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Linus Gerdemann video interview: German talent expecting big things after year out of cycling

by Shane Stokes at 9:31 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video
“I am quite confident that it will be a successful story”

Linus GerdemannHe already signed a contract several weeks ago but Monday was an important moment for Linus Gerdemann and his new team. The German rider travelled to MTN Qhubeka’s Service Course in Lucca, Italy, meeting the staff and the other riders, having bike fit tests done and also undergoing a physical assessment.

He also donned the team’s jersey for the first time on Monday afternoon, wearing the distinctive orange and black top when he was having a Retul bike fit carried out. The kit will be modified next year due to the new association with Castelli [the Italian company will replace Vermarc, which supplied the team in 2013], but there was still a clear symbolism in Gerdemann putting on the jersey for the first time.

It marked him out as a MTN Qhubeka rider, someone the team is counting on to continue its progress towards an eventual WorldTour contract and Tour de France ride.

As a Tour stage winner plus yellow jersey wearer in the 2007 edition of the race, Gerdemann was regarded for several years as one of the top young talents in the sport. His palmares includes such victories as stages in the Tour de Suisse and Tour de l’Ain, plus victories in the 2008 Deutschland Tour, the 2009 Bayern Rundfahrt and the 2011 Tour de Luxembourg.

However things stalled when he was unable to secure a contract last winter, forcing him to sit out the 2012 season.

He explains the reason for that in the video below and also detailed what he did in that time. Rather than being stressed out at missing a year, he’s identified pluses rather than fixating on minuses.

“It was quite nice,” he told VeloNation in an exclusive video interview on Monday, explaining the benefits. “I mean, you are always so focussed and always under certain pressure.

“It was the first time to really enjoy the summer. Okay, I wouldn't say as a pro cyclist you can’t enjoy the summer, but it is different – you always need to take care about nutrition, about small details. For a year it was nice to enjoy the life in another way.”

Now he’s jumped at the chance to get back into the battle that is competitive cycling. Asked about whether or not his year off could help him concentrate more, he suggested that benefits could instead be in other areas.

“I think I have been focussed before as well – it is not as if I wasn’t focussed,” he explained.

“But I think I could work also on certain things, like core strengthening stuff…I really didn’t have the time before, or I wasn’t so focussed at least on it.

“I think this really helps me for next year. I am really looking forward to it and I think I can even do a step more up. I think I will be able to surprise some people next year…”

Gerdemann’s move to the team is due largely to the presence of compatriot Gerald Ciolek there. The duo raced together on the HTC/Highroad teams and have known each other for many years, being good friends.

Ciolek won Milan-Sanremo in March of this year, stunning riders from bigger teams. He was instrumental in getting the team to take Gerdemann on board and between the two of them, they should be able to contend in most of the races on the calendar.

Ciolek is a strong bunch sprinter who is also good on lumpy terrain. As for Gerdemann, he is a very strong climber and a good rider in stage races. As the video shows, he is clear on his role for the team next year, and the importance of his signing in pushing for MTN Qhubeka’s participation in its first Grand Tour.

The squad is trying to get a wildcard selection in 2014, with the Giro d’Italia the race that it arguably has the biggest chance of riding. Asked if the idea of leading the team in that event is enticing, he’s enthusiastic. “Yeah, definitely,” he smiled. “I have raced the Giro d’Italia [before]. For me, that year [2010, when he was sixteenth overall] was probably the hardest stage race I have every done. It was bad weather and long stages…it was a tough race. But I really like to race in Italy. The culture of cycling is so big here and I really enjoy it.”

Time will tell if the team does indeed get the nod for a wildcard for that event. Whatever happens, though, he knows that there are plenty of big races on the calendar and that he’ll have chances in many of those.

“It is a huge chance for me, personally, but also for the team,” he said, asked about his new contract.

He’s feeling good about his chances of clocking up big results, despite his year out of the peloton. “I am quite confident that it will be a successful story,” he said.


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