German national women's coach Jochen Dornbusch is optimistic about women's cycling in general and German women's cycling in particular. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer caught up with him to find out his thoughts on the state of the sport and the upcoming Olympics in Beijing.
"In the last few years there have been great changes in women's cycling in Germany," he said. "We have professional, well-led teams, good appearances and good races. But what is missing is a bigger media presence. More reports on television are desperately needed, in order to help find sponsors for women's cycling."
There are only two German-registered teams in the peloton this year, Equipe Nürnberger and Team High Road. High Road has only five German women, but they include two of the biggest names, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg and former World champion Judith Arndt. The Equipe also boasts such top Germans as former World champion Regina Schleicher and Trixi Worrack. Dornbusch can also count on Hanka Kupfernagel, if he chooses to do so – she delivered a gold medal in the Worlds in Stuttgart last year.
Dornbusch has been the national women's coach since 1999. He came to the sport from its roots, saying that "I grew up in a bike shop, so I had a relationship with cycling already as a child. I was never a good rider, but I started working as a mechanic at the age of 20, to be able to finance my studies."
There are far fewer doping cases in women's cycling. Why this difference to men's cycling? "Women's cycling doesn't involve big money, like men's cycling. Therefore, those responsible in the background aren't financially motivated. A treatment by [Eufemiano] Fuentes costs about 30,000 euro, according to media reports. For the women, there are maybe only 10 percent of the peloton who earn that much. The rest have a lot less."
But it is not just for financial grounds, Dornbusch emphasised. "Besides, the women also see the theme of doping ethically and morally differently then their masculine colleagues. And, especially in Germany, we have seen in the last few years that it is possible to bring in very good results without doping."
There are a number of good young women coming along, he noted, giving hope for continued good results for the future. "With Romy Kasper, Corinna Thumm and Lisa Brennauer, to name only a few, we have some very good young riders, who are still developing. When you see such outstanding riders as Marianne Vos and Marta Bastianelli, then you know that anything is possible in cycling for young athletes."
Turning to the Olympics, he said that the road course "is, in my opinion, very challenging. But the women must ride the closing round only two times, and so I think there are a number of riders who will be near the front. Perhaps even a sprinter." Non-German favourites here are "naturally Marianne Vos, Nicole Cooke, Noemi Cantele, Marta Bastanelli, Giorgia Bronzini and so on."
Read the full feature with Dornbusch.