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Fränk Schleck and Fabian Wegmann make common cause : a German-Luxemburgish Friendship

Autorin : Sabine Roters

For more than a decade, they shaped the face of bicycle racing in Europe. But Fränk Schleck and Fabian Wegmann share more than their passion for cycling, they have also been friends for many years. In the past, they often met at the start during a race, they were bedfellows when they shared the same bedroom or they trained together for competition. Likewise, they both ended their active professional sporting career almost at the same time. Now, the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro brings them back together again. Advertising ambassador of the Münsterland Giro Fabian Wegmann has invited Fränk Schleck to come to Münster in order to promote the fascination of cycling.

Interview mit Fabian Wegmann

 

Who is/has been your ideal in sports?

When I was young, it was Marco Pantani. His driving style was simply unique.

The one with the jug ears?

Yes, exactly

And who is it today?

I don’t have an ideal in the proper sense anymore, but Peter Sagan is quite a cool guy. He doesn’t take himself or the entire rigmarole so terribly seriously.

How many kilos have you put on since you finished your career?

Two kilos.

Which three things would you take along with you on a desert island?

My family.

This answer doesn’t count.

Ok. Then …. (considers the question for a long time): a surfing board, a barbecue and sausages. Cycling in the sand doesn’t really make any sense.

Who bought your first racing bike?

I bought my first racing bike together with my father. Later on, I built my racing bike by and by from the prize money I won at a race.

How did you motivate yourself, when you didn’t feel like training?

When I was a boy, at 12 or 13 years, all I did day in day out was tinkering around with my bike. I spent more time in the basement than on the streets. Eventually, I got back onto the bike.

And later on? Cycling in the snow and rain is only little fun, as I can imagine?

The only thing that keeps you going is to have a clear goal in view.  Otherwise it will be difficult. But then it was also my tricot of the German Championship which tremendously pushed me forward to really work out hard.

At the end of 2016 you ended your career. What does the new life of Fabian Wegmann look like?

Great. At long last I do not have to eat pasta for breakfast anymore in order to get the calories together for a training day.

What do you have for breakfast now?

Two cups of coffee. This is enough.

No wonder that you have put on only two kilos until now. I will ask you again in two years. (I grin) What are your plans?

I will definitely stay true to cycling in any case. At the moment, I am working as an advertising ambassador for the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro.

If everything goes to plan, Münster will have a cycling stadium soon…

Yes, that’s correct. I hope that the city fathers will decide in favour of it. In winter, I made the trainers licence together with Fränk Schleck. I like to think of training young talents there in future.

What does Fränk Schleck say about you as a room mate?

Only good things, I hope. It is really important to be a good team also when you share the bed room. Everyone has his/her own individual rhythm, which is essential for one’s own achievement in racing.

There are different types of cyclers: Sprinters, time racers, classics-specialists, climbers and many, many more. Does the orientation lie in the genes?

Yes, definitely. You won’t make a sprinter out of a climber, no matter how hard you train. In the course of the time you realise automatically what suits you well or what does not suit you at all. Then you surely have to increase your talent.

You are a proven specialist for classics: Do you remember any moment during your career in which you would have gladly got off your bike and quit?

Yes, there are extremely long ascents in the Alps. During TdF I had to leave some grains behind to be able to catch up with a group. On TV,  you only see the top flights, the real dramas, however, unfold at the rear end.

If your stomach begins to rumble after 100 kilometers, how do you get on in the race?

I know some colleagues who really had problems with this. Energy gels didn’t help them. That didn’t bother me much. In my best times I got along at training for six hours without eating. This is all a matter of training. Besides, you don’t ride at 200km per hour flat out constantly. Half of the time you simply go with the pack.

How did you like it on the cycling world fair in Düsseldorf?

It was worth going there. I saw a lot of bikes there, which you usually don’t get the chance to see. Bikes made from bamboo, for example, or from wood.

What’s your position on the topic e-bike?

As a true sportsman, an e-bike is not an option for me. I have to admit, that I have tried some bikes at the fair. I was surprised about how easily they make you believe that your condition is fantastic. After all, I could imagine riding an e-bike as a substitute for a car, but never as a substitute for a bike.

If you had the power, what would you change in professional sports?

I would try to build up a system, which would make the teams less dependent on their sponsors.  Then, the teams wouldn’t have to rely on one or two sponsors and would be able to make long-term plans. 

And for the developments of young talents?

For our youngsters, it is very important, that they are supported more continually and that the teams are not torn apart whenever there is a change within the sponsors behind them. In former times, the sponsors supported cycling by real conviction over a longer period of time. Today, most of the sponsors only follow their economic targets. As soon as they have been achieved, they back out.

In your view: What is the greatest achievement in cycling during the past 20 years?

Well, there have been a lot of changes in recent years. Difficult to say. The carbon frame is definitely one of the main highlights. And – of course – the electric gear shift, a great thing

More information on www.fabian-wegmann.de