Marathon World Championships Val Gardena, ITA

Date: 27.06.2015

Description: Marathon Race

87km, 4700m of climbing, 4.27h
Second Place, 2min behind winner Alban Lakata

I am writing this column in the train towards the XCO World Cup in Lenzerheide. Going to a race and not racing myself is quite a change, but I am looking forward to start working with our team riders, team staff, engineers and marketing people together. And yes, I still love mountain biking with all it’s disciplines and sure I keep on riding and stay fit. Might not as fit as I was last Saturday, but the new adventures will make up for it big time.

I was really happy that after 3 difficult weeks -from my crash to world champs- everything still came more & less together again. It was a roller coaster with up and downs. Finally I was really happy with my second place. Who ever knows me I wanted to be on top step of the podium but second is all I had, Alban was just stronger.

It was a serious climbing race. I did not know beforehand that it is possible to climb & descent 4700m during 87km in 4.30h…. Towards racing day I started to feel better and better since it was difficult to breath for me with the broken rips, especially the whole course was above 1500m.

During the race I felt terrible for the first 2hrs. Like an old horse breathing and the legs heavy. I knew over the first climb I will have to go into the downhill first, since there was a long single track ahead and the women who started in front of us were still on it. I just did not have it at that point and started descending in 10th place. Alban raced away of us during that section and I was stuck behind. After it, we never got close to him any more and I was jojo’ing in our group, getting dropped on the climbs, fighting back during the downhills. Luckily after the super steep middle section which I conquered in fifth place I managed to fight back in the descend into the group for second, joining Paez & Periklis. My spirit “celebrated a comeback”! Periklis got dropped in the second last downhill, and I was hanging on super climber Paez during the remaining 45min to the finish. I knew I am cleverer then him, plus I have the better punch. He was leading all the way during the pedaling downhill’ish stretch towards the finish trying to drop me, but in his draft it was more recovering then anything else. I waited until the very last moment before the final short descent. I sprinted to the front dropped him a few seconds and managed to cross the line happily in second.

It was so so cool to see all the exciting team members and friends waiting for me. Not sure if the pavement is dry there again from all the tears….

A HUGE thank to everybody who has been involved in my career. I believe it was the key ingredient for my long career. I enjoyed every moment of it!

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