Anton Palzer swaps skis for a racing bike: The successful ski mountaineer will commence his professional cycling career with BORA– hansgrohe in 2021
BORA - hansgrohe concludes its roster for 2021 with a lateral recruit. Palzer may not necessarily be very well known in cycling, but in ski mountaineering and mountain running, the 27-year-old German is among the absolute best in the world. ‘Toni’ is now seeking a new challenge and is aiming to begin his journey in cycling with BORA - hansgrohe from April onwards. First of all, however, he will concentrate on his final winter season.
“It may look like a daring venture and a certain risk is definitely involved, but we have been following Toni for quite a long time and are convinced of his physical abilities. You can see from examples like Roglič or Woods that such an experiment can be successful, and we have always said that we would scout within different sports. I don’t mean to say that Toni will be competing for the Tour victory within two years. However, we see a lot of potential in him, particularly in the high mountains. In summer, he trained on the bike for a week with some of our riders in Austria, which worked out very well, and from a technical standpoint, he is also quite strong. Our interest was then piqued and we noticed that Toni was looking for a new challenge. He ultimately convinced us with his enthusiasm and professionalism. We will utilise him more and more at the beginning of the season for difficult one-day races and mountainous week-long races. There he will have to learn how cycling works and, above all, take on tasks for the team. We'll see where this journey takes us, but we'll take it step by step.” - Ralph Denk, Team Manager
“Professional cyclist - for a long time this was just a thought in the back of my mind, a little dream that seemed unattainable and miles away from my realm of possibilities. The decision to embark on a new sporting career was only made during my contact with BORA - hansgrohe and matured alongside several further discussions with the team. Over the course of this year, Ralph Denk and Helmut Dollinger have given my wildest dreams real potential, and I am very grateful for this!
The most important goal now will be to integrate myself well into the team, to learn as much as possible from my new teammates and to put myself in the service of the squad. The challenges for me personally are, on the one hand, embarking on the development from individual sportsman to team player, and also a certain change of rhythm: Up until now I was primarily a winter sportsman, and now the focus is on summer.
From a sporting point of view, I will have to slowly grow into cycling and develop a certain racing intelligence. In the first year I will also have to cope with the challenge of a double season (winter and summer). My strengths certainly lie in the high mountains - but since the paths into the mountains are often flat and windy, I certainly have a lot to learn there!
Overall, I would like to develop myself as an athlete, open up a new playing field for my physiological performances, and also show that it is worth holding on to dreams.” - Anton Palzer
“Toni approached me this Spring with the question of whether I could support him in preparing for the World Ski Mountaineering Championships. We have been working together since April and it was soon clear that some of his performance values, such as his VO2max, are exceptional. In summer, he trains a lot on the bike anyway, so we examined his data in detail. However, the decisive factor for this change was that Toni was certain that he wanted to try it. The potential is there, but data isn’t everything. You still need to show your horsepower on the road. In any case, it will be an exciting project. It will be a particular challenge to make the transition from his last competition season in winter to his first bike races. But generally speaking, we have to be realistic, keep grounded, and use the first season to learn. Then we’ll be better able to see what is possible.” - Helmut Dollinger, Coach, BORA - hansgrohe