Interview: Trixi Worrack talks Ronde van Vlaanderen

Trixi Worrack at the 2012 World ITT Championships - Bryn Lennon

Trixi Worrack has had a great career in cycling. Ever since she won the Junior Road World ITT Championships in 1998, the German cyclist has been at the pointy end of the peloton, winning the Tour de l'Aude in 2004, coming second in the 2006 Road World Championships, are just two highlights in a glittering career. In 2012, she moved to Specialized-lululemon, winning stages in the Tour of Qatar, Gracia-Orlová and Thüringen-Rundfahrt, and being part of the all conquering, World Champion Team Time Trial squad. She's a rider who loves to attack, and excels in the tough, cold, difficult races - perfect for Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen! She came second in the first edition of the race, in 2004, and is pretty much guaranteed the "Most Aggressive" jersey in any race she starts - and she took some time out from preparation to answer some questions about the race, and more, just for the Café.

PdC: Can I start by asking you some questions about Ronde van Vlaanderen? What's it like to race, as a rider?

Trixi: Vlaanderen is always a race where positioning is very important because of the small roads and the cobblestone sections. And the spectators are amazing, they are crazy in Belgium

PdC: How does that work, getting position, when everyone is fighting for the same spot?

Trixi: That’s a good question when something like 120 girls fight for those spots - pretty hard, but most of the time you always see the same girls on the front in this kind of race. Not everyone is able to stay there.

PdC: And in this race, there's something crazy happening every 10km or so - how do you manage to stay alert in a race like that? It feels like if you blink at the wrong time, you can be dropped!

Trixi: That’s right, the best thing is to know the course well. We reviewed it for the second time today. It's pretty hard to remember, because there are so many corners. But we also have a radio so our DS can also tell us what’s happening next. And sometimes we also have a sticker on the stem with notes (climbs and so on)


PdC: What's the worst part about racing Flanders?

Trixi:
It depends, for some girls the steep short climbs, for some the cobblestone parts

PdC: What about for you? Or is it a case of the harder the race, the more you enjoy it?

Trixi: Yes kind of, but also sometime for it depends on the day. I think I like the cobbled parts more than short steep climbs.

PdC: What's your favourite thing about the race?


Trixi:
I think the atmosphere! The good thing is that the men’s race is on the same course


PdC: When you came 2nd in 2004, what was that like? With the crowds, and everyone knowing what this race is?

Trixi: it was great, because the whole course was full of people cheering . It would be good if we had more races at the same time as the men, especially the Classic races

PdC: I would love to see a Paris-Roubaix - but which men's race would you most like to have a women's version?

Trixi: That would be one of my favourite one. Also the Milan San Remo Race

PdC: That would be fun - although I think the women would race differently to the men - none of the "ride all together to the finish and sprint"!

Trixi: I think our races are mostly different then the men races, not so calculable

PdC:
Do you think that's because they're shorter? Or smaller teams?

Trixi:
It’s both! We don’t do the first 80 or 100 km slow and then race. We start and it is a race right away. And also the smaller teams makes a big difference


PdC:
Without giving any secrets away, what's the team plan for Vlaanderen? I am looking forward to seeing the combination of you and Ellen van Dijk.

Trixi: We always try to race aggressively, it is also a bit hard at the moment starting with just 5 riders, but we will make the best out of it. Ellen is in great shape, I think she can race really well.

PdC: Yeah, the team has been hit hard by crashes this year - how are Evie [Stevens] and Ina [Teutenberg]?

Trixi: They are getting better, but we don't know yet when they will be back racing. Hopefully soon

PdC: Ellen is just on fire right now!

Trixi: Yeah, she is on fire right now. Hopefully on Sunday as well

PdC: You described her as "The Animal" in a blog - how is she as a team-mate?


Trixi: Funny, I like to joke with her about the Americans! How they use "amazing, best ever, awesome" in every sentence


PdC: I have always really enjoyed your career - but it feels like being at Specialized-lululemon really suits you as a rider after a couple of harder years - what was it like, moving to the team?

Trixi: It was best thing I could do. I just feel really comfortable here, the girls also fit really well together, there is no bitching around or anything .

PdC: It shows in your results, too! How much of a difference does it make, being happy in a team?

Trixi:
It is really important to feel happy. Also between the girls it is most important because we spend so much time together and we also have to work for each other

PdC:
You do that so well as a team - like it doesn't matter which of you wins, as long as it's your team!

Trixi: It does not matter. It shouldn't! Everyone will get her chance

PdC: All of Ina's blogs on the team site last year were about how old and tired she was - were you surprised that she came back to race this year?

Trixi: Not really, I was thinking that she does at least one more year. She is scared to leave us girls!

PdC: Ha! And you've been riding with her and against her for a long time - was it fun to be on the same team as her again?

Trixi: Sure, I’ve known Ina for a long time already, so I was looking forward to racing with her again

PdC: What's she like, as a team-mate?

Trixi: Really good, also because she has raced such a long time and provides a lot experience for the young riders

PdC: You've had this amazing cycling career - how has racing changed over that time?

Trixi: I think there are more professional girls in the bunch, 10 years ago you could nearly count the girls who could win a race but this days now it is hard to tell.

PdC: It must be satisfying, being able to stay at the top of the sport, as it changed - how did you manage that?

Trixi: Sometimes it is hard to manage that, takes also a lot of motivation in Training, but also I am happy in the Team that makes it easy!

PdC: Last question - who do you think we should watch out for on Sunday?

Trixi: For Sunday, I think the first 3 in the Worldcup ranking will be good for the course.

***

Those top three in the rankings? Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant), Emma Johansson (ORICA-AIS) and Trixi's team-mate, Ellen van Dijk..... you heard it here first! But whatever happens, I'll lay money Worrack will be up there in the action.

For more information about Trixi Worrack, read her profile on the Specialized-lululemon website - and for more about the Ronde van Vlaanderen, check out the race website, with the course profile and the startlist. There are more rider previews of the race by Tiffany Cromwell on the ORICA website, and by Marijn de Vries on Cyclismas - and more information about the race on Les Déesses de la Route and on Velofocus.

Jens has given us his ideas of who the contenders will be - and if you want to follow the race live, I've written a guide to that. And as always, we'll have an open thread right here on the Café on Sunday, so we can share any action as it happens - come back to the women's cycling section on Sunday!

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