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“If you compare it to football, you can’t have eleven strikers, so you have to find a proper team, everybody has to have their role. I am a team player and cycling is a team sport. I can really deal with this role.”

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele




01.02.2015 @ 16:49 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Despite only being 23, Marco Haller of Katusha has been a pro for 4 years. He spoke to PEZ Cycling about his young career, where he has already won a WorldTour race.


Signing for Katusha was a big step for the Austrian sprinter to make at just 19, but make it he did, and he won a WorldTour race that year, a stage of the 2012 Tour of Beijing, just to prove his talent. He spoke about being so young and deciding to move to the top level of the sport.


“I was honest and I was thinking ‘should I make this step or should I not?’ I think you have to gamble really high if you say ‘lets stay down one more year at Continental level and then go up’. I think personally it’s easier to make the step directly from Continental to WorldTour than to go ProContinental and then WorldTour because at ProContinental you have to really crush everybody to get attention. Anyway I think I’m the kind of guy who grows with each task, if I am in bigger races I perform better. I think I showed last year in the Tour de Suisse that I’m ready for the big stage already. These days cycling is a sport were you can compete at any age; there are a lot of youngsters up there, so there is no space for excuses anyway.”


He says he loves the Classics and has the characteristics to do well in them, but says he doesn’t think he will be able to challenge for the win in them until he is older.


“A Classics rider has to be fast, a fast rider is usually good in the Classics. But I love the Classics, they are the races I’m really into, Roubaix is the race for me, even though I can’t say I’m one of the contenders. Two times I have started and one time I didn’t even finish so I don’t have a good statistic there, but it is my favorite race.”


“I think all the Belgian races and Roubaix and the Cobbled Classics are very much about experience since you really need to know the roads. It was really special to work with Oscar Freire, we had a recon of Flanders, I was with the team, everyone took notes and was trying to recognize which parts you had to focus and we figured out we had 200K to focus on, but Oscar looked at the parts were you can relax. There are only a few parts were you can pee or grab a bottle or put away your rain jacket. That was a completely unorthodox way to look at the race and that was quite interesting. If you stay smart and keep your ears and eyes open you can learn a lot, but you need experience for these races.”


He says he can do a good job as a sprinter, but also as a leadout man as he isn’t the fastest, but can hold his power for a long time, and he says he would be happy to play the role of leadout man.


“If you compare it to football, you can’t have eleven strikers, so you have to find a proper team, everybody has to have their role. I am a team player and cycling is a team sport, maybe that’s not visible to everyone. I am as happy as (Alexander) Kristoff if he wins a stage or a race. I can really deal with this role.”


“I’m not the guy with the super fastest kick, but I can hold my power quite long, so that also makes me a good lead-out guy. In the results I took, I usually did a long sprint, like in China where I passed Petacchi and in Austria it was a 350-meter sprint. Of course I’m a sprinter, but for a top class sprinter; I have to be honest I didn’t win enough. I’m fast, I know that.”




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