Challenge Ciclista Mallorca: Of goals, setbacks and experiences
To have been given the chance to compete in the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca was a great honour. Looking back, we are proud of it and of our Pushbikers. The four consecutive one-day races demanded a lot from our road riders in terms of sport, but also offered a lot.
Before and after the four days of racing, the faces showed: anticipation and excitement, tension and exhaustion, emptiness. Sometimes also moments when you have to process what you have experienced alone. But also laughter, fellowship, happiness and certainty. These are snapshots that will accompany us as a team and always bring us back down to earth. The here and now: what is the team already capable of, and what is still ahead of us?
” It was pretty exciting – especially for me thinking that 2 years ago I still was in U19 category and the World Tour looked incredibly far to experienc in any way. But here we were: riding next to big teams and names. “
Goals, adventure, road trip and racing reality
Let’s take a step back. Many things did not go optimally for the Pushbikers in the preparation and led to the team not being able to draw from the full in certain respects. The line-up was also affected by absences due to injuries or quarantine orders. Rupert Hödlmoser therefore opted for a very young squad: With Mikà Heming, Laurin von Stetten, Tim Wollenberg, Michal Galka and Franz Schlachter, five young athletes in the U23 range started, together with Corey Davis. It was foreseeable that it would not be a walk in the park for this team. But we wanted to gain experience in this elite field for the team and also offer it to the riders. We wanted to know how the best teams in the world work; we were prepared to pay the price.
The first impression as Rupert Hödlmoser drives onto the ferry from Barcelona in the Pushbikers Team bus: one is struck by the size of the World Tour Team vehicles. “Underpowered” – no; but something under dog on a big stage.
” I knew beforehand that it would be hard for me there. Just like it will be a hard way to become a professional, because if it were easy, everyone would make it. “
The goal of the Pushbikers was to get UCI points – because in a UCI.1 race like this there is considerably more to get. The focus was on the first three races, we thought our US American Corey Davis, who lives in Switzerland, had a chance. The fact that these are four one-day races, despite the overall classification, played into the Pushbikers’ cards, because even if a rider drops out of a stage, he is allowed to start again the following day.
Am ersten Tag wurde die Mannschaft von dem Leistungslevel komplett überrascht. Das Rennen wurden auf den verwinkelten Straßen im Gebirge Mallorcas von Beginn an hart ausgefahren – zwar hatten wir dies im Vorfeld besprochen, aber so nicht erwartet. Somit bekamen wir bereits am ersten Tag die Realität der absoluten Champions League Fahrer knallhart präsentiert.
On the second day, the Pushbikers were better prepared – and were able to stay in the leading group for a long time. However, our team did not manage to score the hoped-for UCI points and reach the finish in the leading group this year.
“You mustn’t start the race thinking that you’re going to be left behind on the first long hill anyway. That is also mental work that still has to be done.”
“The main thing I learned from the four race days is that I should be more self confident. Also I was too cautious and not willing to risk ut all for a result, instead I rode too conservative. It would have been better to try and “blow up” on the climb instead of staying inside my comfort zone, because then at least I tried and know it.”
In the end, it can be said: the Pushbikers suffered, struggled and were not able to achieve what we had hoped for. Nevertheless, we as a Continental team have taken a lot away with us. We have seen and learned that the path to the top of the world is an expendable one, which only the fewest will manage. But we want to continue on this path: together as a team, as a crew, as friends. Friends who stand by each other in times of success and disappointment. We have to learn, experience and live through all this.
Thanks to our six riders Corey, Tim, Franz, Laurin, Mikà and Michal and to our staff Rupert, Patrick, Seb and Johanna. We ride to live – and will come back to Mallorca in 2022 with our best options !