Trek- Segafredo's double monument winner on German climbs, cooking and racing San Remo
What’s your favourite race?
Paris-Roubaix, for me it’s the most special race. It’s a race that has like a super-special atmosphere and you race on cobbles that no other race has. It’s so unique, for me it’s the most outstanding race - all the emotions I had when I won it. It was always a big dream to win a cobblestone there and to have it is really nice.
What’s your favourite climb?
I like the climbs at home in Germany. There’s a little training area around Frankfurt that’s really nice. The highest mountain is called Feldberg and you can go up to 900 metres. You have a few different sides - one is steeper, one is steadier. I live right at the bottom of the long side, but since I’ve lived there I’ve gone up it only once or twice because you go out of the house and you go straight up climbing. This side I don’t like so much! The other side is way shorter and then you can roll home downhill the other side. That’s pretty nice.
Who do you think is the best domestique in the peloton?
A real classic domestique, you have a lot of them. In the race here [Volta ao Algarve] it’s for sure Grégory Rast but I don’t want to pick one out to say that he’s the best. A good domestique always has an overview of what’s happening in the race, to be up there with a fresh bidon when you haven’t even thought about going back to the car and he already did it. It takes a lot of energy to be a good domestique, you have to be really good, experienced, and Grégory certainly does that.
Who is your funniest team-mate?
Zico Waeytens at Giant-Alpecin. In any team you have ‘the guy’ who is talking and holding the conversation, makes jokes at the table – and he was that in Giant for sure. At Trek, Mads Pedersen is a really funny guy.
Do you have a secret talent?
I like cooking a lot. When I am at home I share the work in the kitchen with my wife. I like Italian cooking and I love to have a barbecue with nice steaks.
What result are you proudest of up until now in your career?
To have a happy family with two children! But, cycling results-wise, for sure it’s the two monuments I’ve won. I can’t pick between Milan-San Remo and ParisRoubaix, both are incredible. In both races I had crazy emotions, it’s hard to describe. It’s something special [winning both in one year]. It also shows the type of rider I am – I’m a little bit of everything. It’s good and I hope to have success like this again.
What’s the best prize you’ve been given in a race?
I never won it but I heard that some people got a live pig at the podium, so they had to carry home a pig - that was pretty funny. You can feed it and then you can get the meat, it’s the best!
What’s been the toughest day you’ve ever had on the bike?
Probably the day when we had the snow in San Remo [in 2013]. It was so incredibly cold, and mentally hard to stop the race, go in the bus, have a shower and get dressed and go out again. In cycling in general you say, ‘Wow that was the hardest day of my life,’ but three weeks later you say ‘No, this was the hardest day of my life!’ It’s never ending. There is always a harder day coming up.
"In cycling, you say, ‘ Wow, that was the hardest day of my life,’ but three weeks later you say, ‘No, this was the hardest day "