Patrick Konrad is one of the young talents on the Bora-hansgrohe tam ready to prove the shadows of new teammates Rafal Majka, Leopold Konig and Peter Sagan will stunt their developments.
Konrad recently spoke exclusively with CyclingQuotes at Bora-hansgrohe’s pre-season camp just before Christmas. We talked his breakthrough 2016 season and what he is looking at achieve in the future.
At 25, he is the oldest of the team’s young climbers, along with former German national champion Emmanuel Buchmann and fellow Austrian Gregor Muhlberger. Konrad spoke about the relationship the trio have.
“We are able to work together very well. I think it´s good to have teammates my age who are in the same or similar position ,as we can reflect on our performances and we motivate each other for sure because we also compare each other.”
Buchmann, who spoke with CyclingQuotes earlier in the season (February ed.), is a rider who forms a great tandem with Konrad as the two have similar programs. See their results for 2016 below in races they both excelled in:
Tour of Oman: Buchmann 12th at 2:30, Konrad 15th at 3:00.
Giro del Trentino: Konrad fifth at 0:24, Buchmann eighth at 0:30.
Rad am Ring: Buchmann fourth at 1:34, Konrad sixth at 4:02.
The duo did many other races together, where one would go for GC and the other would be a domestique.
As for Konrad’s season, he assessed it one with many ups and downs, but he has taken a positive balance from his 2016.
“My season had some ups and downs but I´m sure I made a big step forward again, all in all it was good and I´m satisfied even though there are some things I want to change.”
Konrad did his first Grand Tour as a pro in 2016, and it was the most feared for young riders: the Tour de France. Konrad not only finished the race, but managed a great sprint to take 12th into Berne, a great result for the punchy climber.
“The Tour de France was my biggest experience in cycling yet. my highlight was the last stage, the finish on the Champs-Élysées but also the thousands of fans at the Mont Ventoux.”
Naturally, talk turned to the arrival of the three big names the team has secured as they embark on their first season as a WorldTour team: Sagan, Konig and Majka. With the latter duo being climbers who have done very well in Grand Tours, Konrad was understandably keen to learn from them.
“It´s great to have the double UCI World Champion (Sagan) in the team but also other world class riders like Rafal and Leo. I´m sure they are great leaders and I´m looking forward to race with them and also I am convinced that I will learn a lot.”
Konrad showed great growth in both the Classics and shorter stage races. His great riders in Trentino and Oman were supplemented by 14th in Tour de l’Ain and 15th in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, coming in at 12 seconds with the group that went for 7th place, including Valverde, Bardet, Kreuziger, Mollema, Rosa, Gasparotto and Alaphilippe. He will hope to continue this growth in 2017.
“My goals for 2017 are at first to stay healthy and fit all over the season and for sure I expect more than last year, especially when taking part in my second grand tour. I hope I will reach some very good results at WorldTour races.”
Konrad and Buchmann are being touted as possible participants in the Giro but could realistically do any of the three Grand Tours. Konrad said he has a similar race schedule to 2016, which means some stage races supplemented by some one-day races, with Trentino and Liege big goals once more.
“I know that I will start my season similar like the last two years. I know in spring I will fully concentrate on some one-week stage races and a Grand Tour start.”
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