Linus Gerdemann Aiming For The Top In Comeback

I got and gladly post this interesting interview:

Six months into his comeback year, Linus Gerdemann says he’s got unfinished business with the sport and wants to head straight for the Tour de France. “The Tour is always the biggest race and I would like to go back there. Not just to start but to have an impact and to win stages or wear a jersey. That’s why I would like to start there again,” Gerdemann said.

Asked if he has been following the action this week and how it makes him feel as a former yellow jersey wearer and stage winner, he says, “If you see it now, especially in England how many spectators there are it’s definitely a goal for me to be back there and make an impact in that race. I think it’s great for cycling to see how popular the sport is now in England and how crazy the fans are in a positive way. It’s definitely nice and I am following it everyday and it’s good to see that the race is still so popular.”

After sending 2013 on the sidelines, his report card up until July is as follows: stage win in the Tour d’Azerbaijan along with winning the mountains classification; fourth on a stage of La Tropicale Amissa Bongo on the way to finishing fifth on the general classification and eighth on a stage in Tour de Luxembourg. Does this tell the full story? Gerdemann says, no.

“I think the shape is there. You can always improve and be better but I’m definitely competitive and there to win races. I think I’ve showed and even just for myself that the year off hasn’t affected me too much and I am competitive,” he says.

“Fortunately when I started training I was super good and I was in great shape in Gabon. I finished 5th on GC with the same time as the leaders, they just won on bonus sprints and I did this without specific training. I was quite confident I could make a big impact in the Spring as well but then I had the bowel infection and that was a major setback.”

The infection was a hindrance in a season with a big question mark on it, can he be competitive after a year out of the sport? While victories always get the headlines, it might be less so in a smaller race such as the Tour d’Azerbaijan. Gerdemann says on face value it might seem like an easy victory but not so, as he recalls the day.

It was the queen stage and I was the favourite. Everyone saw I had a technical problem in the day before, which is why I wasn’t up there on GC anymore. A lot of guys asked me before the stage what I think because they saw me as the favourite and then to win it is another story. Even if it isn’t the biggest race I think the level of Azerbaijan was quite high. The SRM [power metre] also helps to see how many watts you’re pulling so from that perspective it was a really good performance.”

“After Azerbaijan I did Bayern Rundfahrt and for me personally it was a bit disappointing because there was a hilltop finish and I expected a little more from myself. I started the race quite confident and it didn’t work out the way I wanted it. In Luxembourg I felt really good. In the key stage I was in the front around 6th wheel with 100m to go then the guy in front of me crashed and I had nowhere to go and I crashed as well. I was lying there on the ground for over a minute and lost the GC so I haven’t been super lucky.”

The German goes on to say even though the results sheet might not tell the full story, he’s gained great confidence for the rest of the season and is determined to prove himself. It’s difficult to compare the 2012 peloton to the 2014 peloton as the hard races are always hard and if you’re in great form, you can be in the front, something he is focused on.

I feel like my preparation is good and I have been focused on being very professional as always.”

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