Instead of ice-cream and Jacuzzi – riding through France on my bicycle…

Rough tarmac, dangerous rides through villages, long and steep climbs, heat and rain, wind and 198 bike pros with just one vision. The riders taking part in this year’s event will be motivated up to their teeth when on Saturday 2.7.2011, the first 191 km stage gets underway. It will be quite a different Tour this year; a far more edgy and unpredictable affair and also very exciting.

I was somewhat pensive and sad when I left my home behind. It was wonderful in my adopted second home Erfurt over the last few days. Deep down inside, however, I will always remain a true son of Sonneberg. I just had to say that because these mixed feelings have a variety of causes. On the one hand there is the enforced and renewed lengthy separation from my nearest and dearest, and on the other hand the uncertainty of how I’m going to cope with the coming few weeks, because in contrast to last year, where I didn’t ride any events after the Giro d’Italia and started the Tour de France 2010 as fresh as a daisy, this year I’ll have 8 days of racing in my legs by the time the big loop in France gets underway.

There are also the worries about how the future of the team is going to pan out and indeed my own future! I came to the Tour with a thousand questions and won’t be able to answer all of them. As far as the future is concerned, I am more relaxed than nervous. I and my teammates are now waiting excitedly for Saturday and that we are once again in the thick of the action. Even at today’s training session it was noticeable that everyone was a little jumpy. This is because everyone places great expectations upon himself and doesn’t know if he can live up to them. Before the race one is in a physical state that resembles discomfort. It’s therefore better if these days are few and far between. It is not a time of total relaxation, but rather a phase in which one focuses on one’s aims and ambitions.

Our team is very strong and all nine of us will be doing our very best to make a real impact on the Tour de France. Because you never know, it could be the last Tour de France for us. I am looking forward to writing reports and articles again during this year’s event and if there is the possibility, then you’ll all get something really brilliant on Canyon’s Facebook page.

All the best,

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