The conclusion of our winter portrait series is the greatest Swiss hope of recent years for an overall Tour de Suisse victory; Mathias Frank.
Tour de Suisse: Soon it will be the end of the Off-Season, how long did you put your bike in the corner in autumn?
Mathias Frank: The Off-Season started this year with the birth of my daughter in the middle of October. I trained until the day before the birth – after that I put the bike aside for a month and enjoyed the time with the family at home.
TdS: This winter there was a bit more snow than before – how do you train through the winter months?
MF: In mid-November, I started to do polysport activities; I went running, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or was in the weight room.
In addition, I have now also purchased a cross bike. I started with the road bike mainly in the middle of December in the first training camp in the south.
TdS: Over all these years, have you developed a special trick against freezing feet?
MF: Much more like thick merino socks & you can’t make good overshoes – mostly I suffer from cold hands.
TdS: You got a Swiss reinforcement for the new season with Silvan Dillier at AG2R La Mondiale. Did you often train together through the winter?
MF: Yes, this winter we have trained together on Gran Canaria, besides the team training camps.
TdS: At the Grand Tours you are meanwhile one of the most important helpers & companion of Romain Bardet. Do you also train with him through the winter from time to time?
MF: Yes we train together in the training camps. Then there are races like the Tirreno-Adriatico, where the aim is to optimise the processes and coordination so that we work well together in the Tour de France.
TdS: If you fight for a top 10 place on the tour for 3 weeks (successfully), do you get anything out of the landscape you cross every day? Or do you concentrate the whole day only on the other GC competitors?
MF: On a Tour de France you don’t get much of the scenery – the races are usually very competitive right from the start. On top of that there are the many spectators. But there are other, smaller races where you get to see a bit of the landscape from time to time. All the more I enjoy the nature in the trainings.
TdS: Is it at all possible to prepare for the printing of a Grand Tour Leader?
MF: I think it is also a question of talent; not everyone is born to be a leader. Often it is not the physical but the mental aspect that makes the difference. Like everything else, mental strength can of course also be trained.
TdS: So from the calm before the storm; what is the most beautiful thing about the profession of a professional cyclist?
MF: I love to compete in races and to be part of a team with ambitions and to pursue these goals together. But I also enjoy the daily training to be outside in nature. Riding a bike is still what I love!
TdS: After you narrowly lost the overall victory of the Tour de Suisse to Rui Costa (2014), will you aim for the overall victory again this year?
MF: I already followed the Tour de Suisse as a boy on the side of the road and is one of the reasons why I came into contact with cycling. To compete in the Tour de Suisse myself or even to win it is a childhood dream of mine. Twice I was close and I would like to win the tour in front of my home audience, friends and family in the years that remain and be able to count it to my palmeras.
TdS: What are you working towards now – what is your first season goal 2018?
MF: The Tour de Romandie will certainly be the first race where I pursue my own goals. Then the Tour de Suisse, my personal highlight of the season where I would like to compete for victory.
TdS: So we wish you good preparation and look forward to an exciting Tour de Suisse with you.