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Team Interviews | 01.02.2016

Interview: Enrico Poitschke on the season start 2016

First race, first podium for BORA - ARGON 18.

After the first race days 2016 we have been able to talk to sports director Enrico Poitschke about the start of the season and the next goals for the team. Enrico, are you satisfied with the first race days of the 2016 season?

We are all very satisfied in the team. Maybe we could have done a little better on Sunday, but in general we are really satisfied. How the team acted in the races, how they set their mark, but also the shape of all riders, this makes us confident for the next challenges. Our lead-out train works well and Sam (Bennett) is fast, so I think we can even beat a world class sprinter like André Greipel when everything works 100% perfect in the sprints. But it really has to work 100%.

What was missing on Sunday?

A sprint is always nervous and tight, also the lead-out. Anytime something can happen. Sam has lost Rudi’s (Rüdiger Selig) wheel with 1000m to go, then everything went a little bit unlucky for us, in the end Sam was blocked and could not show his full sprint. But we could all see in Porreres and Palma that his shape is very good. Therefore, I think it is just a matter of time till we manage to stand at the top of the podium.

So the sprint group is in good shape. What about the climbers?

Well they surprised me to be honest. With the sprinters we focused a little bit on the start of the season, however the climbers should find their shape later, like in March. But Scott (Thwaites) and Paul (Voss) proved with their top ten finishes, that we are also not far from the best in the mountains. But also the other guys have been able to actively interfere the race. I am satisfied with all of them.

What’s up next for BORA – ARGON 18?

Our sprinters take a little rest at home before taking off to Qatar. There we really want to claim the first win of 2016. Sam won also a stage last year in Qatar and I take that as a good omen. But in Qatar we may also fight for a good result in the GC. Some of our riders from the Classics group proved to have the level to do so. After Qatar some riders of the sprint group move on to Oman, but they will be joined by some of our climbers. In general, most of our climbers stayed in Mallorca for another week of training, an intense preparation for the next races. In the Tour of Oman, we have 4 sprint stages and 2 mountain stages, so we will fight with Sam for podiums in the sprints, but also our climbers can show how their shape developed.

And the first real highlight in 2016?

Well, as a ProContinental team we always need to apply for wildcards to enter the big races. And we are proud that we have already been invited for some of the Classics and World Tour races. Therefore, this first World Tour races will also be our first highlights in 2016. Tirreno – Adriatico will be a first real test for our climbers. We are realistic and know that we don’t fight for a podium in the GC there, but we want to ride courageously and set our mark on one or another stage. After that Milano – Sanremo is a chance for Sam to step in the spotlight. For sure he is no favourite there, but I think he has developed as a rider in general and you never know, maybe he can surprise there.

Enrico, thank you for talking to us.

Wildcards already given in 2016:

  • Tirreno - Adriatico | 9.3. - 15.3. | World Tour
  • Milano - Sanremo | 19.3. | World Tour
  • Tour of Flanders | 3.4. | World Tour
  • Critérium du Dauphiné | 5.6. - 12.6. | World Tour

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