By Susan Westemeyer
Gerolsteiner's Ronny Scholz may be best known by German cycling fans as Team Manager Hans-Micheal Holczer's "virtual" son-in-law, but he is doing his best to make his name as a winning rider. On the weekend in the Criterium International, he finished in the top ten in each of the three stages, finishing 5th overall.
Cyclingnews: Congratulations on your fifth place finish in the Criterium International. How do you explain your good performance and what does it mean to you?
Ronny Scholz: I trained for this season more intensively than I ever have before. Actually I have been in training since November. Among others, I had three training camps in the mountains, I was able to accomplish a lot there. In addition (knock on wood!) I haven't had anything to do with sickness or injuries this year. Naturally I'm happy to have the fifth place in the Criterium International with its strong competition - and the brutally hard riding there. A good sign that I am obviously doing the right thing.
CN: You said that you wanted to finish in the top ten, but that your directeur sportif Udo Bölts said that top five was possible. How much did this help you?
RS: Every rider is motivated, when he feels the trust - and that is surely one of the great assets at Gerolsteiner, that the management gives every rider this feeling of trust. But in the end what counts is your performance on the bike, your form and your own motivation. I am having a lot of fun on the bike right now. I even started Dwars door Vlaanderen last Wednesday, even though such cobblestone races will never be my favourites. So there are a lot of factors that come together, and then when a man like Udo Bölts trusts you to do well...
CN: How were the three different stages?
RS: You can prepare yourself for a time trial or for the stage on Sunday morning - but the stage on Saturday was something else! First there was the *#%&§*$ weather with gusting wind, and from the very beginning they were riding extremely aggressively and offensively. There was absolutely no time to take a break, there were constantly large or small groups going off. One little moment of inattention could cause you to be totally out of the race. Hey, that was actually the "sprint" stage...and I didn't even have time to clean my glasses. It was almost more difficult to keep concentrated the whole stage than to ride the bike.
CN: What does the rest of your season look like? Will you ride the Tour de France again, and if so, what is your goal there?
RS: First I'll go the Basque Country Tour, then Rund um Köln, Romandy and Henninger Turm. The last big form test before the Tour de France will be the Dauphine, which will also answer the question of my Tour start. I think that I can be an important helper for Levi Leipheimer and Georg Totschnig, but of course one always has one's own goals at the Tour de France. I will work hard for a stage win - I will find the right day and then fight for the win with everything I have.