Q and A with rising star, Clara Koppenburg
Why do you find yourself in Mallorca right now?
I just wanted to do some long rides because in Germany right now it’s very cold. I’ve also been so busy with university so it’s been nice to have a break from that and focus on the bike.
How has the training been going?
I feel really good. It’s mostly endurance rides I am doing now, no intervals. I feel like I want to go longer and longer and this is the first time that I’ve done such big mileage days in a row. We’ve been doing 5 or 6 hour days in a row and I am surprised at how good I am feeling.
Did you have a break after the season?
I had a break in October and did some running in that time so didn’t lose too much fitness. I love running. I used to do a lot more when I was younger and have been running since I was 10 and still really like it.
This year was your first year in the professional ranks. Was it harder than you expected?
I think it was as I expected and maybe even a little bit easier because I always build things up bigger in my head. So I was scared last year this time but in the end the season was really good for me and I had so much fun. Sometimes I was down and tired but all in all I was confident and had a lot of fun with the girls in the team. The races were really good for me.
What are some of the biggest things you’ve learnt this year?
The tactics. Before when I was a junior I was just racing on my own mostly. Now I learnt how to ride in a team and fight for a team leader. It’s such a different feeling in a race because you know you have five other girls around you and you are all fighting for one goal. I really like that because it’s a team sport. I also learnt how to training better and how to react in a race.
Are you looking at taking another step forward in your ability next year?
At the moment I am just having fun on the bike. I am motivated for next year but I don’t want to put too much pressure on too early.
You got to do the Giro Rosa this year in your first year as a professional. Is that a race you would like to do again?
For sure, yes. I really like that race. In the middle of the race it was quite hard but each day I was getting more confident. It was a really good race. After the Giro I was a little bit tired but overall the experience was good for me and I am looking forward to next year.
You are still young but do you have any idea of what kind of races might suit you?
I’m a climber and I really enjoyed the time trials this year. I like the time trial in the stage races. I would like to focus more on that as I really like it, especially when [Team Manager], Thomas Campana is in the car behind me. He motivates you so much.