I have big news for you today. In the coming season and also in 2020 I will be with Team LottoNL-Jumbo. In this Dutch team I find all the right conditions to be able to continue with my good results in time trials over the years. And I will also do my best to support the team in the team time trial.
I am very happy with this change. I share the team philosophy and have intensely followed the team’s development in the last year. Their professional work in all aspects convinced me. The riders perform as a unit and the whole crew works on every detail to support them as well as possible. In particular their approach to time trials appeals to me. It is well known that the team goes to a lot of effort in this area. I want to be there as the team player I have always been and support the leader. And of course I also want to be successful in time trials.
Right now I am still in China, where I have ridden the last race for my current team Katusha Alpecin, to whom I am thankful for the past years.
The World Championships didn’t work out for the hoped-for gold or even bronze. I know that it was very optimistic to hope for a podium place on this course. But if you don’t aim for it, you don’t even need to start. I definitely lost time on the climb. Before and after that I was always one of the top three.
The good impression I had from the last few days proved itself again yesterday in the team time trial. With our third place in the team time trial at the Tour of Britain we achieved a result which makes us and me very confident for the World Championships. We were 20 seconds slower than the winner.
300 watts over three hours. The day really was a hard one. After a tough fight and much back-and-forth, after some 60 km I was finally able to get away with a group. Unfortunately we were never allowed more than a one minute gap, but I wanted to put myself out and test myself. Plus: you never know! Sometimes you come through to the end.
I have some good and some not-so-good news for you today. First the good news: I am back on the bike and the doctors gave me the green light to train on the road again. The healing process is going well. And I have let myself be tortured by our team osteopath in Munich for the last four days.
Unfortunately the Tour is over for me. I was involved in a mass crash today about 17 km before the finish. I flew over the handlebars on to the ground, and landed on my head, with my lip splitting so much that it had to be stitched. That alone wasn’t so dramatic. I hit my back hard and knew right away...
Now the tenth Tour de France faces me. Crazy, how fast the time goes by... But the magic of this race stays unbroken for me. It is unbelievable, what all is going on here. I can hardly wait until the start tomorrow. I have been here since Tuesday. So I am ready to go. Today we had some intensive discussions about the first two stages.
I had my best time trial of the last few months to become German champion again. I am happy not just with the title, but above all with my performance. I felt strong from the first to the last meter – even though I have to admit that at the end I took something our and enjoyed the ride into the finish.
I finally have achieved another top result in a big time trial. Of course it is irritating to sit on the Hot Seat for so long and then be beaten by one of the last starters. But I had Dennis and Dumoulin on the list of favourites, of course. And there were a lot of top time trialists in the field, anyway. So I am satisfied with my performance.
The stage at the Giro opener in Jerusalem was super and I am also satisfied with my result. My focus is not necessarily on the start of the Giro and the relatively short time trial of nearly 10 km. My preparations were more so that I am really ready later. That is why the ninth place is in order. Especially since we had three riders in the top ten.
After the Classics, I used my time to spend time with my family and at the same time to check out the Worlds course. The course is good, not too technical, flat at the start and then at the end, for both the individual and the team time trials, a long climb which will be the key factor. I will prepare painstakingly and see what is possible.
I am satisfied with my performance, but not with the results. To be honest, I had expected more. However my preparations this year have been a little quieter, because I have to keep going until Roubaix and the Giro. Not quieter in the sense of fewer kilometers but rather the intensity of training. Of course I have now noticed that.
That was a really hard opening of the season. Full gas from kilometer zero. 40 men away early. Not even time for the obligatory nature break. Five hours with the lower handlebars. At the Vuelta Ciclista de la Region de Murcia there were only a few riders at the end within the time limit. I came in as 26th and really had to go deep.
The time of the dry run is over. Tomorrow it all starts again, finally. At the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia Costa Calida and on Sunday the Clasica de Almeria. I will be looking to find my race rhythm before it really starts to count at the Algarve Tour on Wednesday. I am very satisfied with my preparations.
After the mild weather on Mallorca, I am now in the winter paradise Obergurgl to recover. I am also using the benefits of the altitude to find quiet and relaxation and to stimulate my body. I do have my roller with me, but mainly I want to chill, as they say, before I jump into the season in Murcia.
Are you a little bit jealous when you see this photo? You should be. The weather on Mallorca the last three weeks has been the way I remember it – mild temperatures and sun. In the last few years it has been risky to fly to "Malle" in January, because there has often been rain and uncomfortable temperatures. But now the love is there again.
3.075,13 Euro! Many thanks to everyone who took part in the Albert Schweitzer Kinderdorf Erfurt donation campaign. Together we raised more than 200 Euro more than last year. Fantastic. Of course I will again pay all costs, so that the total sum goes to the kids.
I received a lot of feedback about my comment of yesterday. I even got a phone call from a UCI’s representative who took the time to clarify how the process had been handled. I now understand that the UCI is managing this case in accordance with the rules and that Chris Froome did not get any special treatment.
I am totally angry. There is definitely a double standard being applied in the Christopher Froome case. Other athletes are suspended immediately after a positive test. He and his team are given time by the UCI to explain it all. I do not know of any similar case in the recent past.
As of today I am in training camp, the weather is good and we can train really well. I am happy to see the team again after the winter break and to learn the new teammates. Of course I already know one of them pretty well – my old friend Marcel Kittel ;-) The atmosphere is very good and everyone is motivated.
As you can see, I am hard at it again. I started training the beginning of November and am now on Mallorca, where our first team meeting starts in the coming days. I arrived a few days early with my family. We celebrated our daughter’s first birthday here – incredible how fast the time goes by!
What a celebration of cycling! The fans provided an incredible mood at the Münsterland Giro. I could enjoy it from pretty much kilometer one in the lead group. Unfortunately we were gathered in again 20 km before the finish, but I am satisfied. Because of the wind, there wasn’t any more to do.
I am not, and cannot be, satisfied with the results in the individual time trial. My performance was not that which I had planned. My stated goal was to have the best time at the foot of the climb. I didn’t do that. I was not able to go really deep. The though of the climb that was coming inhibited me.
You might not think it from the results, but I got a lot of motivation from the team time trial. My form is super. I feel really fit for the first time this season. And I will go so far as to say that with legs like this I have already become World champion. The time trial tomorrow is not that long and the climb at the end is pretty steep...
The World Championships finally start tomorrow with the team time trial. Today we looked at the course – and I was positively surprised. Compliments to the organizers. There are a lot of curves, but you can ride them all at tempo if it stays dry. It is like a roller coaster.
The first two stages here at the Tour of Britain were marked by hectic sprint finals, in which we worked for Alexander Kristoff. We didn’t have any luck but we will try again. Of course we want to win at least one stage here, but it is equally important for a rider like me, who will start in the World Championships, to get some racing in.
After the Tour finale I am finally home again with my family. It is great to see the two of them again after so long. I am enjoying it very much. As for the Tour, I must honestly draw a sobering conclusion, although it was also one of my best participations. The mood within the team was outstanding...
After feeling run down the last few days and even had some chills, I am now again able to attack. Yesterday I was underway a short while and today I tried my luck about 60 km before the finish. However, the category 1 climb proved to be too much for me, especially since my previous escape group contained some good climbers...
I will make it quick. Of course the result is disappointing, since I had planned on riding into the yellow jersey. In the last three kilometers I just didn’t have the punch to be able to defend the gap had built up. I must accept how the race turned out. We had a well-deserving winner. And I won’t hang my head.