Tuesday, May 28, 2024

– The top sport is stone brutal

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Tobias Foss has put last year’s season behind him. Photo: Tor Erik Schrøder / NTB

Of NTB | 16.04.2024 06:33:02

Medicine and health: On the opening stage of the world Tour of the Alps, the Vingrom boy sprinted best and took a much-anticipated victory, the first in a joint start at the top international level. The triumph tasted excellent after 2023 was largely ruined by illness.

In April last year, he was infected with corona. He put that back a long way, and afterwards he had to patiently build himself up again. During the march, both the intended start in the Giro d’Italia and a number of other major races were canceled.

When NTB meets the 26-year-old on the phone after Monday’s victory in the Tour of the Alps, he does not hide that there have been many difficult times.

– This means a lot. There has been a lot of adversity. Many have doubted me. That’s why it’s insanely good to get this result after a lot of hard work and late nights, smiles the likeable Ineos Grenadiers rider.

– The top sport is stone brutal. If you deliver good results, you have many friends. If you perform poorly, you are more alone, says the 26-year-old honestly.

Last year’s adversity came in the wake of an adventurous 2022 harvest. Then Foss shocked the entire cycling community, including himself, by becoming world champion at pace in Wollongong, Australia. The gold really put the Vingrom boy’s name on the cycling map.

Wearing the rainbow jersey, expectations were naturally also turned up towards the 2023 season. This is no longer the case. Heading into 2024, the starting point was almost exactly the opposite.

– That is absolutely true. Now I have nothing to defend myself, smiles Foss.

British Ineos Grenadiers were the next stop. There he shares the jersey with, among others, former Tour de France winners Geraint Thomas and Thomas Pidcock. The latter went to the top on Sunday in the prestigious Amstel Gold Race.

– It has meant a lot, says Foss about the team change – and elaborates:

– It was good to have a change. I have a new trainer who I get along with very well. He and I share a training philosophy. Now I am in a very good place.

– I am mainly here to get a week of intensity and training. Actually, we had no big ambitions. But we do our best every day, so it will be as it will be, says Foss.

The Vingrom boy is clear that he has not done anything special to top his form. That it was still a victory on Monday, after a stage where the legs felt good, bodes well for the days and time to come.

The next task for the 26-year-old is the season’s first three-week race, the Giro d’Italia. The start is in Venaria Reale on May 4.

Foss does not think the Giro place would have been lost if he did not show form in the Tour of the Alps, but says:

– It would probably have worked anyway, but this victory is probably the nail in the coffin. Admittedly, the team has not yet been selected.

In the Giro, he is intended to play an assistant rider role for captains Thymen Arensman and Geraint Thomas. At the same time, he gets to drive for his own chances on two tempo stages.

Foss says it’s kind of understandable that people began to doubt him, all the while the 2023 season went as badly as it did.

After last year’s difficult season, a change of environment was also expected. Foss left the Dutch-Norwegian star team Visma Lease-a-Bike after four seasons as a teammate with, among others, Danish Jonas Vingegaard.

For Monday’s Tour of the Alps start, he came directly from altitude training in the Sierra Nevada. The expectations were not that great, according to the 26-year-old.

(© NTB)

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