Gabriel Rasch knows that it is good to have an influential friend and he credits Thor Hushovd for his opportunity to ride at cycling's top level.
“For my part, it was Thor who got me into this professional circus,” Rasch told TV 2 Sporten.
The two first rode together professionally with Credit Agricole in 2008. From there, Rasch has followed his countryman to Cervelo TestTeam and Garmin-Cervelo.
Hushovd, however, downplays his role in Rasch's career. “He deserves a spot. It's not for nothing that he has ridden the biggest races.”
Rasch, 34, has ridden two of the three Grand Tours. “I've ridden the Giro d'Italia and even if people don't believe it, it is perhaps even harder than the Tour de France. I also rode the Vuelta a Espana twice.
But it is clear that it is the Tour de France which people watch at home and which matters most.”
He has still not ridden the Tour, although he hopes to, some day. “Yes, that is clear. But I don't think I should have high hopes this year.”
Rasch realises that he faces even more uncertainty this year. He is a Classics specialist, but is now part of a team filled with other Classics specialists. “At Cervelo I was part of the Classics squad, and I felt confident to ride the races I wanted. Now there may be more competition, but I will have to go all out.”