CFR's Interview with Roel

21. August 2009 12:01

CFR's Interview with Roel

Roel is ready to defend his Marathon World Champion title in Graz!

Cannondale Factory Racing: Roel, one week to go and you have to defend your World Champion title for the first time. How was the last year as a World Champion?

Roel: It was a special feeling to ride around in that jersey!! Since I was a young rider that was one of my big dreams to get the World Champion jersey.

CFR: Since you won the title, did something change for you except the colour of your jersey?

Roel: The people look at me in a different way. The jersey not only changed in style, but also what people think of me is different now. From that moment on I was known as one of the long distance specialists, which is strange, because I was a XCO racer my whole life and still feel like one.

CFR: Last year the race was more or less in your hometown in Italy. You knew the course pretty well. How about this year? The race is in Graz. What can you tell us about the new course?

Roel: This years course a very hard course too. It is a mixture from short and steep uphills and also long gravel road climbs. The descents are very technical and some parts are tricky. It’s one of the best courses I’ve ever seen for the worlds. And for sure, the best rider gonna win!

CFR: Can you compare this course with the one last year? Or is it totally different?

Roel: Last year I could tell you before the race how it would go in the race. This year there are a lot more critical points where you can attack and you have to pay attention for the whole time! Especially on the first 50 km it is very difficult.

CFR: Who do you think will be your biggest contestant on this course?

Roel: Oh, that’s not easy. I would say that Sauser, Paez, Huber, Lakata, Kurschat and Debertolis will be strong here and will be hard to beat.

CFR: As a Cross Country Pro you do not compete in that many marathons. What is fascinating for you doing long distance races?

Roel: The work you put into the race before it actually starts, that is what is fascinating. Inspecting the track, get the feeling for the track, to check out where and the when you can eat. That’s a lot of work. It’s more like what the road Pro’s do for a tour stage. The plan for the victory has to be ready before the race ?

CFR: Are there real Marathon Pro’s out there or would you say that being a good XCO Pro is enough to win marathons?

Roel: I think you have to do both XCO and Marathons to win the Marathon Worlds. First you need the endurance to come through the long distance and second you have to be explosive for the attacks to win.

CFR: Right after the Race in Graz you fly with your national team to Australia to do the XCO Worlds. How can you switch that fast from one distance to the other? Do you think you will have some problems on the shorter distance?

Roel: Endurance is the basic for everything! After doing a lot of XCO races in the last month it’s a good preparation for the XCO Worlds to do some longer rides. I think I am well prepared and can do well in Australia.

CFR: Are those long races your future? Or do you still have any goals for the shorter distance?

Roel: I think it’s important to do both. But I would like to do some stage races again. I won the Cape Epic and that was a great experience.

CFR: At the Olympics in London you will be 36 and a four time Olympian. What comes next?

Roel: Well, that’s a while till London 2012. But after that I wonna do some extreme events like the crocodile trophy, the Leadville 100 in the US or the Cristalp. You can not do these races as a XCO Pro during the season so I safe them for the end (smiles)

CFR: You have two team mates in your team that are way much younger than you. Do you see any difference between them and you in terms of riding, training and how they handle their bikes?

Roel: For me they are the new generation of mountain bikers. They are super fit in the technical sections and are very explosive. This is like the evolution of Mountainbike in the last years. The races are shorter and faster and more technical. That’s what makes it more interesting for the spectators. We, the older bikers, come out of times where Cross Country World Cups where 3 hours long and we had big time gaps between the riders. All the races were more based on endurance.

CFR: Can you learn something from those “little boys”?
Roel: I learned a lot of them!!! Because they put a lot of energy into technical parts of the course and automatically you gonna focus on that too!

CFR: Looking forward to the rest of the season. You fight for the title in Graz next weekend and what’s next on your schedule?

Roel: I hope to come back from Graz with any medal and some good legs and finish the season with a good result in one of the XC events, either the Worlds, or the 2 World Cups. From Schladming on I race without pressure and will do my GP Roel Paulissen and the Roc d’Azur in France.

Thanks for your time and good luck for the Worlds!

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