Rider Diary

Rider diaries with Leon Heinschke


After a brilliant performance at Tour Alsace where he took third on GC, one of our Development program’s more experienced riders, Leon Heinschke, sat down to pen his thoughts on his time with the team so far and his recent ride in France…

I think I’ve had some great years in the team already and this is now my fourth season here. I’ve had a lot of help from the team’s experts over the year’s and it’s really nice to be able to listen to them and get a lot of knowledge and different opinions so that together we can make the best out of it and improve.

It’s normal to make progress every year, even if you have a bad or poorer year, like I had a bit last season. You know what went wrong and you can learn from those mistakes and make it better next time. Over the years you learn so much. You also get more stable as a rider with a better base as you get older, and with the knowledge you gain, you can always push on to be a better rider.

For example, I was super satisfied when I took the U23 national title and it’s something not a lot of people can achieve in their careers but you don’t stop working. You always want to reach higher and achieve more.

Now that I’m in my fourth year with the team, I try to help the new guys when I can. If they have any questions about things then I’ll try and answer them and help them out. Even just talking things out helps a lot for them and I can share my experiences so far. I have to say though, I still learn a lot from the new guys on the team too so it’s nice to be able to listen to them as well!

I’ve been able to do some races in the pro peloton with the Men’s program which is really nice. If you’re able to ride together and against some big names, then it’s basically what you’ve been dreaming about doing since you’ve been a young rider.

Even though you ride with the big names, at least for me, I’m not afraid – they’re just another rider in the race. You do your job for the team, do what you can do, and have some fun while doing it.

When you look back on those races you can take a lot from them and see what the older guys do differently and learn from it. Going into Alsace I felt that my shape was really good after some good training and racing, and even before that in the Baby Giro I already felt good on the climbs there. It also helped having more years of experience and building that base level of performance too, so that I was more confident about where I was at going into the race.

To be honest though, I didn’t look at the names of the people that I beat there; I was more focused on myself and trying to give my best.

For sure it’s nice to be faster on the climbs than some big names and some good climbers. I knew from the Giro and Nationals that I could climb well. I wouldn’t say that I’m a pure climber but we did some good training afterwards and knew that I was in a good shape. We wanted to focus on doing my own pace on the climb and then see what happened as the race unfolded. I didn’t directly expect to be that good, but it was more about trying and giving it a go.

I’ve definitely gained some more self confidence from that now and will take that with me into the next races.

It also helps with your race tactics too I think, knowing how you can pace things or where you can maybe attack. We’ll see with the team what opportunities we can get in the next races but one thing is for certain, I’ll definitely give it my all and go for them fully!

Until next time,