Where is "home"? When was the last time you were there?
My home base is in Stuttgart/Germany. I have been at home for the last four weeks, my preparation for the 2012 season starts now. Currently, I am in Cape Town, South Africa for some base training.
I love being at home, but not when it's cold and winter is close! I prefer to spend the wintertime in sunny countries like South Africa.
How old were you when you first rode a bicycle? Who were you with?
Actually that is a funny story, at the age of eight I had my first race; a mountain time trail. I was so excited that I raced flat out, to the point of exhaustion and my father had to push me the last 500 meters to the finish.
I won the race! However I must mention that I was only competitor in my age category. That was the beginning of my racing career.
What sparked your interest in racing?
I have been always interested in sports. I played tennis and football for many years, but there was always something that I didn't like. In football you were only as good as your team. In tennis i got bored of always being within the same training environment. Mountain biking is different, individual and social, man against man, explosive and a great sport for both the old and young.
Have you always been XC/Mtn-focused?
I love to be in nature. I did some road racing in the past, but I never really enjoyed it because you are limited on the road. When I ride my mountain bike outside in nature I decide where to go, not a tarmac road. I love to ride my mountain bike.
Any weird human talents/tricks?
As a Pro rider, I have a pretty mean shirt tan. Looks like a Zebra.
Do you subscribe to any pre-race rituals?
Not really, the only thing that's really important to me is my espresso before my race. Thanks to our Support Team, in the new Cannondale truck we have an integrated coffee machine. I tell you what a busy place before the race starts!
What were your 2011 season highlights?
I qualified for the olympic games next year in London.
What are some of your 2012 goals (if you're allowed to share)?
Big goals for 2012 is the Worldcup, World championship and the Olympic Games in London. One of my goals is to win one of the Worldcups in 2012.
What bike(s) are you riding right now?
Off season time is playtime, freeriding with my Jekyll and here in South Africa I have my Flash 29" and my SuperSix EVO Road bike with me.
What's it like riding for Cannondale Factory Racing?
I am proud to be part of the team. I get the best support that I need to push me and my team to our limits.
Describe a 'typical' day as a part of the CFR team.
Wake up in the morning because my Italian team member Fontana snores so loudly. Having a coffee with my swiss team partner Gujan. Battle against them in training. Having long chat to Giacomo to get the perfect setup for the bike. Having a painful massage after training from Stafan, our physiotherapist, and having a long chat with our Team manager Daniel on how we will take over the CrossCountry world.