The young professional cyclist (EF Education-NIPPO) from Thurgau talks to us about his earliest TdS memories, his major goals and his fascination for the Team Pursuit.
TdS: “Stefan, what is your earliest memory of the Tour de Suisse?”
Stefan Bissegger: “As a child, my parents always took me along to watch the Tour de Suisse along the roadside As a child, of course, the publicity caravan was a highlight. (laughs)
Where you were given Emmental cheese or similar gifts.
I clearly remember the time trial in Weinfelden (2005) which was very exciting.”
TdS: “How would you describe yourself as a professional cyclist, what are your strengths?”
Stefan Bissegger: “On the one hand, I am clearly a time trialist. On the other hand, I’m not too bad in the sprint, which means although I don’t realistically have a shot against the top sprinters, in a hard race if the top sprinters are dropped or suffering, I am in with a fighting chance.”
TdS: “What does it mean to you to be able to compete in the Tour de Suisse for the first time this year?”
Stefan Bissegger: “This is my first full professional season – last year I only joined in summer. I’m very excited about my first Tour de Suisse.
This year it starts right on my doorstep with the time trial.
This is of course a big goal for me and has been marked in red on my agenda for a long time.
I will give everything on the day to be able to come out on top – and also to beat Stefan Küng. (smiles)
It means a lot to me to compete in this national event – also to talk about our country with the other cyclists in the peloton.
This will definitely be an exciting experience and I am really looking forward to it!”
TdS: “The Tour de Suisse is known or perhaps dreaded because the sprint stages are never flat, but more like the Classics.
Are such stages to your liking?”
Stefan Bissegger: “Yes, these route profiles certainly suit my type of rider. The question will be whether I can keep up with the fastest on the climbs or if they will leave me behind.
That is always the risk – we will see. (grins)“
TdS: “Another big goal of yours will be to take part at the Olympics in the Team Pursuit. What are the differences between the two disciplines?”
Stefan Bissegger: “On the track, the ability to ride in very high-intensity zones is incredibly important. I ride in the discipline “team pursuit”, where you also ride on a time trial bike. So I can easily combine this with time trialing on the road.
It is certainly an advantage when you are experienced in time trials and are used to riding in this aerodynamic position.
The short maximum effort is even more important in track racing than on the road. This requires slightly different and specific training.”
TdS: “What excites you about the prestigious Team Pursuit?”
Stefan Bissegger: “In Team Pursuit, everything comes together: the teamwork, tactics, material and timing.
The world record is currently 3:44, which is an incredible time, an average of 60kmh from a standing start. Every element must be right; every rider in the team must give their best, has to be in top condition on the day. You also need to make the right decisions at the right time.
This is what fascinates me about this discipline – this perfection!”
TdS: “You are at the beginning of your professional career – what is your big dream?”
Stefan Bissegger: “The ultimate would probably be an Olympic title. Of course, that’s not so simple. Or to win the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix would be really great!
I’ll take it as it comes, give my best in every race and hope for a long and successful career.”
TdS: “Stefan, thank you very much and best of luck in achieving your goals!”