Rider Diary

Rider diaries with Franziska Koch

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With the racing season having drawn to a close, Franziska Koch sat down and penned her thoughts on her third year with the team and those brilliant rides at Paris-Roubaix and Ronde van Drenthe…

I’ve just finished my third year and I feel pretty at home in the team. 2020 was not a year where you could improve too much because of Covid and the shortened calendar but I really appreciated how the team put in the effort when there wasn’t any racing to work with us.

It kept us busy without the racing so even in that year I was able to improve a bit; as a person and not only the bike. From that I gained a lot of confidence going into this year!

The classics are some of my favourite races but we all admit the start of the season wasn’t maybe the best for us. We kept on believing in each other though and in the end we got the results we all worked for. We often had a really good lead out helping to set up Lorena as our finisher. For my part I often played the role of controlling the race in the beginning and then helping to catch the breakaway.

There are always tough moments there when you’ve got to just keep going and pushing on but then when you catch the breakaway and nail a lead out it really feels like a win for the whole team. After the finish when you hear something on the radio you know “okay, all that hard work we did paid off.”

Every rider of course wants to try and win sometimes too, so it’s really nice in the smaller races where things are a bit more open or at the U23 Euros where I also got the chance to be there with a more aggressive and attacking strategy; which is also really fun. We’re always aiming for the best as a group, no matter who wins.

I have to say though my favourite race this year was Paris-Roubaix. No one knew what to expect; it was something really exciting and something hat you were nervous about. We did a recon but it was always nice weather so we never experienced it in the wet but with my mountain bike background I was never afraid of it.

I knew that it was going to be like riding in a slippery wood or similar, and of course you need some luck to stay on the bike, but at least going onto the cobbles I wasn’t afraid; I was in the mood for it.

It wasn’t planned for me to be the team’s finisher, more as final support. We had some bad luck with the team crashing or mechanicals, I found myself in the front so it was also nice to learn a bit again how to ride the final.

Then going into Ronde van Drenthe I felt good and we did a really great race; riding so dominantly with the team was incredible. We had a passive aggressive tactic in the beginning and then we wanted to see what the situation would be like after the last time up the VAM-berg. Being there with four of us in the group of seven, including Lorena, we chose the safest option and to go with her in the sprint.

We gained so much confidence over the year that when we go all-in with Lorena, we knew that we could finish the season off in the highest way with a win in that situation. I felt confident in that and went all-out to help push the pace so we could sprint in the end.

It was really cool to see how dominant we were and how well we worked together; also with our communication, everything was clear and we were all aiming for one goal.

As I mentioned earlier, we struggled a bit in the start of the season but we managed to stay committed and fully turn it around and ended it in the best possible way makes me look forward to next year even more. I hope to be able to do good in the classics again and be there in a good way with the team. As for the off-season, I don’t really have any plans. I’ll stay at home with my family and spend time with my friends because then I will go to Girona over the winter to train as best as possible to be in shape for the next season.

I hope you all enjoy your winter break and until next time,

Franziska!