After his very successful campaign in the Middle East, the German wrote his first blog for the team's website.
I chose Dubai Tour to be my maiden event of the year because it's a very good race for sprinters and for me a good race to start my season with. I have great memories of the 2014 Dubai Tour, where I won 3 stages. This was also for us a good moment to test the team regarding the lead-out, regarding the sprint, how everything works without having too much stress. And when you saw the line-up for this race... with Cavendish, Viviani.... I don't need to explain why this was such an important test!
Dubai is a great place, special, artificial but cool. On the first day we went training in the morning on a desert track which was really cool, because from there you had a great view of the Dubai skyline and it was a perfect place to train without being bothered by cars or anything else. We had a great group of guys with the Belgian boys Iljo Keisse, Nikolas Maes and Julien Vermote, our two Italian boys Matteo Trentin and Fabio Sabatini, our polish guy Lukasz Wisniowski, and of course Tony Martin, the strongest rider in the peloton. It was especially nice for me to have Tony here with me in my first race with the new team. We have been friends for a long time, so to be able to ride together in a team is really good. We also shared a room together in the Dubai Tour and we always had a good time.
It was also good to have Tom Steels here in Dubai. What I really appreciate about Tom Steels is that he always stays calm, never gets annoyed. And the fact that he has a lot of experience with sprinting is good so I can really learn from him still. He knows so much and can communicate on a level that you really understand each other. He studied the parcours of the stages like a week before and calculated everything to make the lead-out and the sprint work.
Before the first stage I was actually really calm, which was quite surprising for me. The days before the start, the only thing I could think of was winning! That was in my head all day, everyday. I can say that now I can focus without being too nervous I think. Being nervous is also always a good sign and it helps to really give your best.
I think I can be very happy with my Dubai Tour, it was a good race for the whole team and I could also feel on the bike that I was strong. It was a successful race and of course it's always good to start with a victory. But to top it off with another stage and the overall win was just really incredible! I'm so happy that our trainings from the winter paid off, when you see the guys win already with Gaviria, Brambilla, Dan Martin, Vandenbergh and me. That gives a really good feeling to the rest of the team and it gives a lot of confidence as well.
To sum it all up, the only thing I can say is that I had a dream start of my season, it couldn't have been better!
Now I'm looking forward to the next race which will be Volta Algarve and after that Paris - Nice.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele