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Klinger looks back at neo-pro year

Shane Stokes
December 26, 2007, 0:00 GMT,
April 20, 2009, 22:56 BST
First Edition Cycling News, December 26, 2007

Tim Klinger's neo-pro year with Gerolsteiner was not an easy one. The doping scandals that hit...

Tim Klinger's neo-pro year with Gerolsteiner was not an easy one. The doping scandals that hit professional cycling, especially German cycling, took their toll on him. "As all the confessions came out, that was quite a shock to me," he said. "Cycling has taken a big blow to its image. I hope things will improve now. A lot of things have changed and I think that I belong to the group of people that cycling is now counting on."

The 23 year-old, interviewed in the Westdeutsche Zeitung, applauded the new anti-doping steps being taken in the sport. "More unannounced out-of-competition controls and a blood passport for every athlete, these are the right steps to take," he said, noting that he was tested "only" three times in 2007.

"It was a great first pro year for me, even if there ups and downs. But I saw that I am not so far behind the best riders," he said confidently. "Riding the Vuelta a España to the end was like winning the Tour."

His training group in his new hometown of Emmendigen won't let him relax in the off-season - it happens to consist of his directeurs sportif Christan Henn, Reimund Dietzen, Christian Wegmann and Michael Rich, which the youngster calls "a great training group. I have never regretted the move, because conditions here are optimal." He is combining cross-country skiing, riding, and mountain biking.

Klinger is trying something new this off-season: an altitude tent to sleep in. "I'm sleeping at 2500 metres high right now," he claimed. Personal sponsors helped him buy the tent. "I'm trying it out - it is all totally legal, of course."

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