TFR.com: You had a big crash on training one week ago. Please tell us how it happened and how you are feeling right now?
"I was on my TT bike, training behind the motorbike. We were doing a recon training of the Tour de Suisse time trial in Worb, actually. I was in the aero position and my shifters got tangled up in a handgrip at the back side of the motorbike. I went down going around 55 km/h. It hurt, I can tell you that. I lost a lot of skin and I have a lot of scrapes and bruises, but luckily nothing was broken. A local pharmacy took care of my wounds and I rode my bike home."
"I lost some training days, so I’m not coming to the Tour de Suisse in the shape I was hoping for. The first 24 hours after the crash were okay, but the next day was really painful. I felt bad and in a lot of pain. I couldn’t go on the bike. So I went to Basel, to visit our head doctor, Andreas Goesele, just to be sure everything is alright."
TFR.com: You have been a pro for 14 years now and you have participated in eleven editions of the Tour de Suisse. What are your thoughts about that?
"It’s like a routine, for me, although every edition is different. The course changes all the time. The race is usually really hard, like is the case this year as well, but I always try to find something in the course that fits my possibilities."
TFR.com: What is your highlight this year?
"Well, the time trial in Worb is really special for me. It’s only 15 km away from my house, so a lot of friends and family will be there to support me. I thought I knew every corner of the parcours, but I have noticed that there are still one or two streets that I had never taken on training."
TFR.com: What about the prologue?
"It’s hard. The climb is not easy at all. The crash makes it a little difficult to predict my performance. But I’ll be at the start line, so I’ll definitely give it everything. The weather could be a factor. I hope it won’t disturb the result too much though."
TFR.com: You have raced in Bavaria already ten days ago, and now here. Is this the real start of the second part of the season for you?
"Well, the crash has disturbed this start somewhat already, but yes, you could say that. I’m looking forward to being in a great shape again, because every race is so much easier then."
TFR.com: What’s on your schedule next?
"We still need to decide if I race the national championships, road and TT. Then I go to the Tour. Later come the Vuelta and the World Championships."
TFR.com: You return to the Tour after a year of absence. How does that feel?
"It feels good. I think I have missed some ‘Frenchness’ in my program, to be honest. I’m curious to see how much bigger the Tour has become in two years time. We talked about my participation for some time. It would have been great to have a prologue, but that’s not the case and I’m motivated to try something in the fifth stage, that goes over the cobblestones of Roubaix. I’m also happy to lead the team and to share my experience. It’s sort of a goal for me. Just focusing on the Worlds from here onwards is too soft of a program. If you race without a real goal, you lose some fire. I want to keep that fire."
TFR.com: Are you excited to start this Tour de Suisse?
"Absolutely. Racing in my own beautiful Switzerland is great! There’s a great field here and we have an ambitious team. Fränk Schleck has some good legs and also Danny Van Poppel has shown that he’s in good shape!"
TFR.com: Final question: the World Cup soccer is also on. Switzerland is playing against Ecuador on Sunday. What’s your feeling?
"Switzerland has a good defence, but the offensive part is still a little bit searching. They may find difficulties scoring goals, but I think they can defend well. So I’d say 0-0."