Cyprus Sunshine Cup defending champion Alexandra Engen is looking forward to testing her early season form, along with her five Rothaus-Cube teammates, starting with this weekend's racing.
"No, no, I'm not flying to Cyprus to win the Sunshine Cup," said the 22-year-old Engen. "Mostly, this is a good training opportunity." Last year, racing the Sunshine Cup helped her lay the foundation for a strong season. She won three rounds and the overall series of the Cup.
When asked if her form is as good as last year, she replied, "Please ask me on Monday. Today I really don't know."
Engen has been living and training just outside of Freiburg, Germany since mid-January.
"It was a good decision for me to move to Freiburg," she said. "The team is taking care of me in a fine way, and I have already established myself." In addition, the conditions during winter in southern Germany are much better than the cold in her home country when it comes to training.
Teammates Hanna Klein, Barbara Benkó, Felix Euteneuer and Heiko Gutmann are joining Engen on the Mediterranean island. The squad plans to stay near the German National Team in the neighbourhood of Larnaca.
Engen, the silver medallist at the 2009 Under 23 World Championship, headed to Cyprus on Wednesday, travelling with the Swedish National Team. Her four Rothaus Cube teammates will make the trip on Saturday.
Together, they will race round one of the Sunshine Cup in Voroklini on Sunday. They will face a 6.9km technical course with 240m of climbing per lap.
[Translation by Jahn Ekman]