The German neo-pro on signing with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, his debut and first win for the team, and returning to racing.
It has been a different first half of 2020 than anyone could have expected, but I have had no problems staying motivated. To be able to ride for the Wolfpack has meant that I have been determined to keep training over the last few months.
When I came to the team as a stagiaire I had some other opportunities elsewhere, but I had to try and take a chance to join the Wolfpack for 2020. I wasn’t sure if there was a place for me in the team this season, which put a lot of pressure on, but when I joined the team they were like a big family with a really nice atmosphere. After the Brussels Classic I signed a contract on the Monday, Tuesday I won Textielprijs Vichte, and on Friday, Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen – it is still a dream when I look back at it! I think everybody who watches cycling sees Deceuninck – Quick-Step as the biggest and most famous team in the world and for me it was a huge thing to ride in the World Tour, but I never thought I would ride for this team. But it all came true and I am happy.
I come from a sporting family, but I started by playing football, tennis and skiing first. One summertime, for my ski training I had to do some conditioning work on the bike, which was a lot of fun. Then my father bought me a mountain bike and we started training a little bit and taking part in some small races, and it all progressed from there. It started in small races when I was 8 or 9 years old and then, at about 15, I switched to the road and the track, and from 2018 I started to target a pro career.
Cycling in Germany is getting bigger each year. It is not like it is in the Netherlands or Belgium, and it is starting to recover from its difficult past with German TV now showing the Tour de France live each year now. Also, the Deutschland Tour and some other races are doing well and hopefully they can come back stronger next year. The German Championships will be in my home town of Stuttgart in 2021 and I think it is getting more and more popular here.
My year started in Colombia, which was difficult, but when I look back it now, it was a special trip with hard training and hard racing, with really, really nice people.
An unforgettable experience! I got to spend an extended period of time with Bob and Julian for the first time. I feel like I am a similar type of rider to Bob and for sure I look up to him. And last year, during the Tour de France, I kept watching Julian, so to spend so much time with him was a dream for me. When I came back, I could feel the benefits of the altitude and it was really nice, I felt good in Le Samyn, but just a few weeks later the season stopped and that was difficult. I had a really nice race program, but as I said, I have a Deceuninck – Quick-Step jersey so I was still motivated to train and I have been able to train outside for the whole time, as we have had really good weather in Germany.
I am really looking forward to seeing everyone at the training camp next week and hopefully working towards the season starting on August 1st. We have worked with my coach and the management team on some big goals for the rest of the campaign. At this level, every race is nice and I am happy whenever I can pin on a number.
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