How old are you now? Where do you come from and where do you currently live?
I turned 34 in September and I´m living with my family south of Leipzig (eastern Germany) in a little village called Göthewitz.
What's your athlete history? How did you start Triathlon ?
I´ve got a swimming background. I did only swimming until I was 15 years old, but I didn´t make the cut for further support, but I didn’t want to stop doing any sports so I switched to lifesaving, which is pretty popular in Australia and I took part in different competitions like world champs with my club etc. 2005 was my 1st triathlon season, where I raced sprint and olympic distance races, mostly in the Bundesliga. In 2007 I made my 1st half Ironman distance race and in 2009 I finished 2nd in my 1st Ironman in Madison/WI - USA. From that point I was hooked by racing Ironman and trying to become one of the best.
One of your most impressive performance was in IM Austria in 2014 with a fabulous time of 07:54:31. But you seem to be at your ease in the mountains too! So what race profile do you prefer?
Even if I´m living in a really flat country side, I do really like the mountains. When you´ve got some hills on the bike course, the races become much more honest, then when it´s absolutely flat and when the weather isn´t too bad, there is nothing you can wish for.
What does the Alpe d’Huez climb mean to you?
This climb is known all over the world. I´d like to claim, that every bike rider around the world has heard about the mythical climb and gets goosebumps even thinking about to ride it. It´s like when you say ‘Wimbledon’ - everyone knows it´s tennis and when you say Alpe d´Huez - it´s all about cycling.
First participation: victory. Did the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon go as you imagined? Was it as tough as you supposed?
Like I mentioned I like the climbs, so it was tough, but not worse than expected. The only thing you really cannot simulate when you´re not living in the mountains is going downhill really fast. I think I need to improve that. And yes it was like I imagined. I always try to perform at my best and try to win if possible.
Did you prepare the race specifically?
I did most of strength orientated session on my indoor bike, because the longest climb I have is 10min and it´s nearly 1h driving with the bike. So it´s easier to train on the indoor bike for some power, which is more efficient and saves time for me. But when I´m in the mountains and the weather is nice I always prefer riding outdoor.
It is often said that German triathletes are more fond of "rolling" and fast races like Roth. What do you think about that? Will we see more of your compatriots at the Alpe d'Huez in the next few years? In 2017, for the first time, nearly 100 German triathletes were registered in the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon.
I´d really like to see more Germans taking part in races like Alpe d´Huez, because they say they are strong cyclists, but riding long climbs with more than 1h is completely different to courses like Roth.
Patrick Lange, Jan Frodeno, Sebastian Kienle, Boris Stein... Germany is undeniably the dominant nation on the Ironman planet right now. Do you see any particular reason for that?
I have no idea, to be honest. It´s not easy to be a German triathlete at the moment. Even when you´re Top 10 in Kona, you can end up 5th German and no one cares about that great result. A few years ago the Australians dominated with Crowie, Macca and Pete Jacobs. At the moment the Germans are dominating a lot of races.
What advice would you give to a triathlete participating for the first time in the Alpe d' Huez Triathlon?
Prepare for the long climbs and save some energy for the run too, which is tricky and underestimated. The run is difficult, because of the course and the altitude and when you hit the wall when you’re just getting the transition 2, your run could last forever.
What is your program in 2018? Do you intend to defend your title in the Alps?
At the moment I´m enjoying off season, because my last race was Ironman Malaysia. I try the fix most of my schedule for the next year with the beginning of December and I´m really thinking about the come back and trying to defend my title.
If you were to sum up the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon in one word, what would it be?