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Winter profile 3/4 – Stefan Küng

Stefan Küng is back from a long training camp in the south, and talks to us about reading on the bicycle trainer, training on snowy winter days, and what goes through his head when he’s towing the whole peloton behind him.

Tour de Suisse: Are we wrong, or did you finally fulfil a little dream this year and actually take a break during the off season?
Stefan Küng: Yes, I travelled in a campervan around New Zealand for seven weeks with my girlfriend. It was incredible!

TdS: How long did you NOT cycle for while you were away?
SK: I didn’t touch my bike for the first two weeks. After that, I slowly got back into it.

TdS: Do you spend more time on your time trial bicycle, your track bicycle or your bicycle trainer in winter
SK: I mostly use my normal road bike, because the most important thing in winter is to work on base training. I only use the bicycle trainer when there is no other option.

TdS: You celebrated your first cycling success on the track, and then you went on to succeed in time trials, one-day races and stage wins, which – like in the classics – you decided to go for yourself.
What kind of cyclist would you describe yourself as?
SK: I love time trials and the classics, so that’s what kind of cyclist I am! laughs!

TdS: What goes through your head when you move to the head of the pack for your team leader and keep up incredible power over those long distances so that the field stretches out and the riders duck into your slipstream?
SK: When I’m towing the whole pack behind me, I always tell myself that I shouldn’t make it too easy for them in my slipstream; that’s why I really push myself sometimes.

TdS: What’s it like during the first training camp of the season, when – like in your team – there have been a few changes, new riders etc.?
SK: We had a great camp. The team spirit is really positive and you can tell that everyone is incredibly motivated. We gave a fitting welcome to the newcomers. laughs!

TdS: You’re now only spending a small part of the winter in the south. This winter, we’ve had a lot of snow again in Switzerland. How do you train at home?
SK: It depends; as long as the streets aren’t covered with snow, it’s a case of wrapping up warm and completing the usual work. When it snows, I switch to my cyclo-cross bicycle and my cross-country skis.

TdS: Have you developed any particular tricks for combatting ice-cold feet over all these years?
SK: Thankfully, I’ve never suffered from sensitive feet. I have more of a problem with my hands, so I always wear two pairs of gloves.

TdS: When you have to use your bicycle trainer at home, do you read a book?
And what book would be best suited for that?
SK: Definitely not – it would get soaked in sweat. I always watch films or live sport when I’m on the trainer.

TdS: What training do you focus on in winter? Endurance? Power? Time trial techniques?
SK: Winter is about base training, so the focus is on endurance and power.

TdS: What are you working towards now – what is your first target for the 2018 season?
SK: I've already circled the Strade Bianche on my calendar, at the beginning of March.

TdS: Thank you, Stefan. We wish you all the best and are looking forward to the Strade already.

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