European champion Marlen Reusser goes for gold in individual time trial but realises technical course is not in her favour

European champion Marlen Reusser goes for gold in individual time trial but realises technical course is not in her favour

"I want to prove again that I have become better at working against the clock"


Marlen Reusser will start her world championships in Wollongong on Sunday with the individual time trial. The European champion will start as one of the favourites. After previously winning two silver medals, the 30-year-old Swiss has her sights set on the gold medal. "Although it will be anything but easy. It is a technical course and that makes the group of contenders bigger."

Linked race Wereldkampioenschap individuele tijdrit Wollongong - Linked cyclists Marlen Reusser

One of your most important goals of the season is coming up. What do you think of the course? 
"It's not the perfect course for me. It's much more technical than any other time trial I've already ridden at a world championship. The Flanders course, for example, suited me much better. That was straightforward and that made it much more selective. Only a few women in the world are able to consistently develop great power over a given distance. So Wollongong presents an extra challenge for me."

What makes it so special?

"It's a rollercoaster. The course goes up, down and has lots of tricky turns. Despite being so technical, I think it's mostly really fun. It's not one constant effort, but it alternates between tough and easy. It widens the circle of contenders for a medal. Riders who are not pure time trialists may be able to compensate with their technical skills. Grace Brown is one such outsider. And also a more punchy technical rider like Lotte Kopecky I can see a good time here, for example."

Does this technical lag stem from the fact that you started cycling later?

"That definitely plays a part. Especially at the beginning of my career, I crashed very badly several times because of that. Which made me scared to take a corner at full speed and so I pulled on my brakes faster. It's a vicious circle. Meanwhile, my cornering has improved a lot, but when I see how Stefan Bissegger and Stefan Küng cut a corner, I still have work to do. The World Championships will be a good indicator. If I become world champion, it will be a personal victory."

You already became European champion in Munich, but that was an unexpected title?  
"I really didn't expect it. My radio didn't work so I didn't get any split times. I ride without a Garmin in a time trial. So I had no measure of how I was doing, apart from my legs. And it felt like I wasn't progressing at all. In my head I had somewhat resigned myself to the fact that it would come to nothing, but I kept on accelerating. That's why that European title was so unexpected."

You beat Ellen van Dijk at the European Championships. Who are your biggest challengers for this world title?

"Obviously Ellen again, but don't make it a Van Dijk-Reusser duel now. Annemiek Van Vleuten will also come on very strong, as will Grace Brown. Ever since the season started, this was one of my main goals, but after the classics nothing went according to plan. For example, I got sick after the European Championships. So I don't really know where I stand. But it was the same before the European Championships. In a time trial you have to go all the way and then you see at the finish whether you win."

When will you be satisfied? 
"Everyone expects me to say: when I win. Of course that is my goal, but I will also be satisfied when I notice that I have made strides in the more technical aspect of a time trial. Of course, I hope for the world title. After two silver medals, that would be a crowning of all the work everyone already invested in my time trial." 

The elite women's European time trial championships will take place between 9.35am and 12.30pm local time in Wollongong. In our time zone (GMT+1), that's 1.35-4.30 at night.

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