An interview with Hanka Kupfernagel
Hanka Kupfernagel had one goal in mind this year, to win the time trial gold medal at the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. With determination and the right preparation she managed to deliver an impeccable ride to beat defending champion Kristin Armstrong. Kupfernagel told Cyclingnews' Bjorn Haake how she did it.
33 year-old Hanka Kupfernagel stunned the road racing world when she took the gold medal in the time trial in Stuttgart. More noted for her skills in cyclo-cross, where she has gained three World Championships and sat atop the UCI rankings in 2006-2007, Kupfernagel is an extraordinarily versatile rider who has had success on the road, track and mountain bike as well.
Kupfernagel, a silver medalist in the 2000 Olympic road race in Sydney, Australia, had proven herself on the road before she switched her main focus to cyclo-cross after her success in Sydney. Along with numerous German road race championships, she also demonstrated her abilities against the clock by winning the German title in 2002. She also had good performances in 2006, finishing third in the 21-kilometre time trial of the Tour de Feminin - Krasna Lipa in the Czech Republic and fourth in stage four of the Thüringen-Rundfahrt, a race held on the streets where she grew up.
Kupfernagel didn't have a chance to show her skills at last year's Worlds, as she did not get an invitation from the German coach, Jochen Dornbusch. This year, she put all her energy into making the team so she could race in her native Germany. Stuttgart is only a couple of hours drive from her adopted domicile near Freiburg, in southwestern Germany. The whole year was dedicated to the time trial, and Kupfernagel kept focused her training to peak for the race in late September.
The preparation, which included stage races with the national team and motorpacing while riding her time trial bike, paid off. The first big success was the time trial win in stage 4a of the Emakumeen Bira, near Bilbao in northern Spain. "It was my first international time trial win," Kupfernagel explained why this victory was so important. She then confidently tackled her next goal, the national time trial championship. The race was held shortly after the Emakumeen Bira, on June 24. Kupfernagel won the black-red-gold jersey ahead of Charlotte Becker. With that goal reached, she went into the road race a week later with less pressure.
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