• Venue: Rhens, Germany
  • Date: 18 June 2017
  • Distance: 80km
  • Climbing: 2200m
  • Position: 2nd
  • Time: 3h03

During my three week stay in Koblenz, it just so happened that I was lucky enough with a Canyon sponsored MTB race in Rhens. The Canyon Rhens Hunsruck MTB was not to far away and only a 15km cycle away next to the Rhein River. It offered me a super opportunity to stretch the legs and support one of our team sponsors before heading to World XCM Champs in Singen during the week.

It’s always great if one of your team sponsors is also a partner of an event so the only admin was an email and everything was organised, thanks Julian!

I must admit, I somehow did not feel that motivated for the race with lots of busy days in the body with so much to see and such great weather here in Rheinland-Germany making you just want to ride your bike and be outside the whole day long, but once on the start-line you give in to the nervous feeling and just focus on giving it your best!

The race started through a narrow street out of town central and I got a bit sucked into the bunch as everyone sprinted to get through first, and once hitting the first climb, I had to overtake a few riders and missed the Soren Nissen (Den) and Roel Verhoeven break (NED), and even though I passed them both at least once later in the race, never got any slipstream out of this 3h03 race! 

After the gap went out to 50seconds, it just stayed steady, even managed to pull it slightly closer on my self-made-time-checks, then with 15km to go I overtook Nissen who had to stop to inflate a tire, I hoped I could maybe grab the win, but he had a good pump-action, caught me on the next climb and smashed it up the last steep vertical meters to beat me into 2nd by more than a minute. Verhoeven finished 3rd with the Robert Mennen and Sebastian Breuer combo from another Canyon team, Embrace The World, in 4th and 5th.

What a lovely race with 1000 participants racing through the Hunsruck Mountains with fast trails, vineyards, Rhein views and filling the quaint Marktplatz afterwards for pasta, snacks and plenty of beer as expected from a German bike race!

At the end I was happy with my performance and how the body felt going to World Champs next weekend where I will at least try and improve on my 29th position from last year on a very fast and non-technical course that makes me a bit scared of the possible bunch racing chaos with wide handlebars! But mostly holding thumbs for teammates Alban and Kris for a cracker!