BRONZE MEDAL AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS | Cairns, Australia
Worlds have been a blast. Winning a medal at such a great championship is just an amazing feeling.
Although I had to deal with the bad start at the Team-Relay, both physically and mentally during that competition, I believe that this was one of the important experiences that brought me that far in the XCO race. I´ve already known before that, that the starting phase is very important on that course, but I didn´t expect it to be that decisive.
So, I knew what I had to do on Friday: I had to give everything on the start and be in the leading group from the beginning of the race, otherwise it would be nearly impossible to get there later. Those who watched the live timing know that that starting phase went out well for me and I only had to keep up with the man to beat, Sam Gaze. Easily said, not easily done, but I did it until the fourth lap. Then I was in the exactly right position to not be able to follow Sams attack: just behind him. Only Alan Hatherly could pass me before I opened a gap to the rest of our group by myself. From that point on Sam, Alan and me where all on our own, going our own speed and Jan Vastl, who was in fourth spot then, wasn’t able to keep up with that, what blocked Sebastian Fini.
It was just a seven seconds gap that I had to my chasers when I went into the fifth lap but it was enough and I could even increase it through the final two laps. These final laps had been so crazy hard. It was when the Australian heat and the resulting dehydration really kicked in. Especially in the last lap I had to deal with had to deal with intensive cramps in both legs. I worked myself up that endless hill in Cairns, switchback by switchback.
And all that pain was just washed away.
Then I passed that final ramp, I saw some junior riders of the German national team and all that pain was just washed away and I grinned to them, because I knew that the gap was big enough. I knew I could go down slower than before and I knew that I didn’t have to take any risk and also that final phase of the race went out well for me.
It was such an incredible feeling then to ride again to a World Championships finish line on a medal spot. I saw my national team coach standing in front of all spectators at the finish straight and he gave me high five and both of us were smiling and yelling at each other. It was such an enormous moment of happiness like I only experienced it a view times: at worlds in 2015, my first world cup top5 result in Andorra 2016 and at my second place at the world cup in Lenzerheide this year.
I want to thank everybody who supported me the last few years and especially during my injury phase in May and June. This medal will definitely motivate me for the winter training and through hard times that hopefully won´t be there again to soon.