Dominik Klemme may be one of Saxo Bank’s youngest riders but the 23-year-old German is looking to ride his first Worlds this year and support André Greipel in what he predicts as his most testing season yet.
Now in his second season with Bjarne Riis’ Danish outfit, Klemme is currently training at the team’s camp in Fuerteventura before flying out to the Tours of Qatar and Oman for his debut races in 2010.
With a place in the Classics also on the cards and a slot pencilled in for his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta, the German knows that expectations of him are higher now than in the 2009 season in which seeking experience was paramount.
“I might one day be a good one-day racer. 2009 was a learning year and this is the year that I try and test myself. I want to be a helper at the Classics, I want to be at the Worlds for Germany and I want to win my first pro race with Saxo Bank,” he told Cyclingnews.
At the Worlds in Australia, Klemme is willing to offer his services to André Greipel, who is already being touted as a potential winner. “I would go there and help André Greipel. I want to use it as a learning experience. I want to know how it works in these races. At the Under-23 I got seventh and 11th. There’s a lot of watching each other and it’s about how you play your cards. I like races like that.
“I think it would be stupid not to work for André Greipel. It depends on the race but every sprinter says they want to win there and it would be stupid if the team said we wouldn’t give him a chance or work for him. But you also must have others for a break, because sometimes the sprinters just look at each other and you know that some of the national teams don’t work so good together,” he said, clearly displaying a maturity above his years.
Klemme’s wish to win his first professional race at Saxo Bank should not be easily discounted. He was signed by Riis during the Tour de l’Avenir, where he won two stages in 2008 and backed that up with a second place in the German national road race last year.
However, despite the steady development in his career, Klemme has kept a watchful eye on the decline in German cycling. “We only have one ProTour team left and it’s important that Germany keeps one big team alive, otherwise we turn the clock back thirty years. We had four teams a few years ago and now there is just Milram. It’s difficult, because of the press every sponsor was afraid,” said.