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Winter profile 2/4 – Sébastien Reichenbach

Sébastien Reichenbach is not just Thibaut Pinot’s domestique; he has also become Switzerland’s most successful Grand Tour rider over the last two seasons. In our TdS winter series, Sébastien Reichenbach tells us how he is slowly trying to get back to his best again after his injury, and what he is looking forward to most over Christmas.

Tour de Suisse: First things first: how are you doing after your accident at the Tre Valli Varesine in autumn?

Sébastien Reichenbach: I’m doing well, thanks. After months on the exercise bike I can finally start training outside again. My rehabilitation isn’t quite complete yet, but I’m well on the road to recovery.

TdS: That’s good to hear. How are you getting back to top form again after your injury? And have you set yourself a specific time frame for recovery?

S.R.: I do physiotherapy and fitness training every day. I started doing weights again as soon as I was allowed, which was five days after my operation. I also ride my exercise bike regularly. If you want to get back to your best, the worst thing you can do is to sit around doing nothing.

TdS: Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to go outside for long rides in winter? Or do you switch to a bicycle trainer or maybe go abroad?

S.R.: Not at all, I love the winter! I’m not afraid of long rides. I love the feeling of making progress from one week to the next. Plus, I always alternate between different types of sports in winter, such as skiing, cross-country skiing, and fitness training.

TdS: Does it spur you on when you cycle up your local mountain, the Col de la Forclaz, and see your name every few hundred meters written on the streets?

S.R.: (laughs) I don’t cycle up the Col de la Forclaz very often, because there are usually a lot of cars on the route heading to Chamonix. I prefer tackling passes where I won’t encounter any traffic.

TdS: Have you developed any particular tricks for combatting ice-cold feet over all these years?

S.R.: A thick pair of socks made of Merino wool, and some warm overshoes. But they need to be breathable, because as soon as you start sweating, you’ve already lost. (laughs)

TdS: On the Grand Tours, you are one of Thibaut Pinot’s main domestiques and companions. Do you also train with him in winter sometimes?

S.R.: Yes, we meet up in December and in January to spend 10 days at a training camp.

TdS: There’s always the danger of gaining a few pounds over Christmas. Do you allow yourself the occasional sweet treat, or maybe some nice cheese?

S.R.: Fortunately, I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I’m not a big fan of cake or biscuits. But I do like good meat, and the festive period provides the perfect opportunity to eat more of it!

TdS: And what is the first goal you’re working towards in the 2018 season?

S.R.: My main goal for 2018 is to recapture my previous form and simply to enjoy the sport. That’s what I aim for every day.

TdS: Many thanks, Sébastien. We wish you all the best and a happy Christmas!

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