Markus Zberg: "I'm dreaming of winning a classic."

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18.01.2008/ Swiss rider Markus Zberg will start his sixth season with Gerolsteiner. The 33 year old spoke with German based website "I'm dreaming of winning a classic."

© Cyclingheroes
Markus Zberg's first pro race was the 1996 Mallorca Challenge (© Cyclingheroes)

Are you satisfied with the past season?

Markus Zberg: I had a pretty good form at the Ardennes classics. But because Davide Rebellin, Stefan Schumacher and Fabian Wegmann were really strong, I subordinated myself and rode as a domestique - with success [Schumacher won Amstel Gold and Rabellin Fleche Wallonne, editor]. After that I wanted to prepare for the Tour de Suisse but I crashed at the Volta a Catalunya and that messed up my preparation. Until the Tour de Suisse I I came with a reasonable form anyway and crashed again at the first day. Surely the past year wasn't one with outstanding results. But at the spring classics I experienced that with an appropriate form I can keep up with the riders at the front. I hope I can achieve the same in the upcoming season as well.

How did you prepare for the upcoming season?

Markus Zberg: In December I could train at home very well. I was ten days at Mallorca and there I trained superbly. I am ready for the first races.

When will your season start and which races will you ride after that?

Markus Zberg: At the beginning of February I will fly to California and train there for twelve days. Then I will ride my first race: the Tour of California. After that Paris-Nice and Milano-San Remo. At the Circuit de la Sarthe I will prepare myself for the Ardennes classics. The highlights of the first half of this season will be Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liège - Bastogne - Liège.

What is your role in the team?

Markus Zberg: Surely I am a rider who helps his younger teammates to find their way. New riders and those who are slowly approaching world-class. That's my job and that's what I agreed up on with Hans-Michael Holczer [team manager Gerolsteiner, editor] when we discussed my contract. So I will take a step back if a younger rider. like Fabian Wegmann or Stefan Schumacher can win an important race. You alos need guys who can assist at the final. That's my job and I try to do that as good as I can.

Are there races where you can go for your own chances?

Markus Zberg: For the Ardennes classics I will prepare myself very well. When something happens or a team captain gets sick, I will be ready and hope that I will be able to take my chance. I also will prepare myself very well for the Tour de Suisse. I would like to win one more stage. When you have great legs you will get a chance to go for yourself automaticly.

Is there one particular race that you would like to win in your last professional years?

Markus Zberg: It was always my dream to win a classic. Unfortunately I wasn't able to put that into practice. It will not get easier now. But its still my dream and I work hard to get one more chance to win a classic.

Did you think about what you will do after 2008?

Markus Zberg: That's completely open. At first I will concentrate on the 2008 season. Maybe I will take a decision about my future after the spring classics. Then I will decide if I will continue to ride or retire. I will ask myself if I am still having fun with cycling or not. At the moment I am still having fun.

You are a professional for a long time now. Do you remember your first pro race?

Markus Zberg: Let me think... It was the 1996 Mallorca Challenge with the Carrera team.

Where is Swiss cycling standing at the moment?

Markus Zberg: This year many young Swiss riders signed with Pro-Continental teams.. Its difficult to say how they will develop. Of course we have an absolute top rider with Fabian Cancellara. Martin Elmiger is only one small step away from great success. Then we have three oder four riders who are able to win a race if they have a good day. I am one of them. You can't compare it with the successes of 10 - 15 years ago. But at the moment we should be satisfied with what we have.

What do you wish for cycling in general in 2008?

Markus Zberg: I hope that times will be a bit more quiete and that the focus will be more on the sport again. I hope that the enthousiasm that I received at the races will stay. Its beautiful when the spectators cheer us on at the streets. In the end that's what satifies a rider.

We would like to thank for the permission to translate and publish this interview.  

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Markus Zberg
Birthdate: June 27, 1974
Place of birth: Altdorf Uri (Switzerland)
Residence: Oberhofen (Switzerland)
Height: 1.79 mtr.
Weight: 69 kg.
Turned Pro: 1996
1996           Carrera
1997           Mercatone Uno
1998           Post Swiss
1999 - 2002 Rabobank
2003 -    ?   Gerolsteiner
Stage 5 GP Wilhelm Tell
Stage 7  Tour de Pologne
Stage 6 Settimana Bergamasca
Tour of Bern
Stage 3 Tour de Suisse
Stage 1 Vuelta a Espana
Stage 22 Vuelta a Espana
Stage 4 Bano of Austria
Milano - Torino
Swiss National Road champion
Stage 3 Tirreno - Adriatico
Rund um den Henninger Turm
Stage 7 Paris - Nice

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