Tour of Flanders: interview with Andreas Klier
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28.03.2006/ “When you’re climbing up those hills, you’ve got nothing else on your mind. You find yourself in a deep trance. You don’t notice what's going on around you, whether it’s the thousands  of fans lining the roads to cheer you on, or your sporting manager, who’s trying to give you tactical instructions from the team car. You just don’t clock any of it. Not a thing. It’s absolute hell.”

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Andreas Klier (the second rider on the picture) during Flanders 2005. (Picture: Cyclingheroes)

Andreas Klier has a kind of love-hate relationship with the most feared and leg-breaking climb at the Tour of Flanders. On the one hand it brings suffering – a painful incline 15 kilometres from the finish line in Meerbeke, with a maximum gradient of 15 percent. On the other hand, the “Muur” is an integral part of “his” race.
In November, Klier saw the climb from a very different perspective. Dressed in his civvies and with hands in his pockets he strolled up the last few metres of the ‘Muur’. “I’ve never done this on foot,” he says, breathing heavily and taking it all in. “And when I take a good look at it from here,” he adds, smiling, “it doesn’t look that difficult at all.”
Living and breathing Flanders
The Tour of Flanders is an honest race,” says the cobbled specialist. “You can’t mess with it and you can’t show fear. In the end, one thing is always certain: The best cyclist will be first over the finish line. I like that.” Klier lives and breathes Flanders - the German and his family have lived in the heart of the cycling hotbed for many years – in Denderwindeke near Geraardsbergen, and has sworn one thing to himself: “I’m not moving away from here before I’ve won this race.”
Just as well then that the Munich-born rider enjoys life in Belgium. “You either love this region or you hate it,” he says. From the very first day he felt at home here, with these helpful people. “They hardly know the meaning of the word 'stress'. I fit in well here, even if I see my future in Germany in the long term.”
The now 30-year-old originally made the move from Germany to Belgium in 1998, at the request of his first pro team, TVM Farm Frites. “There was a clause in the contract that required me to move here. Their offer was a great opportunity for me to turn pro, so I didn’t have to think about it for long.” He hasn’t regretted this decision so far.
Living where he trains means that Klier is able to enjoy a proper balance work and family life. And that’s a good thing, as harmony and routine play an important role in his life. He says he’s not the type of person who is constantly changing or who feels he has to reinvent the wheel. “I get along just fine without a personal coach and instead rely on my training group, which is like a little family. I prefer to do my winter training in Belgium. That's been successful until now,” he says.
A driving force
Andreas Klier radiates more self-confidence and willpower than ever before. With the departure of Erik Zabel and Alexander Vinokourov, Klier is shouldering more responsibility within the team. “The extra pressure drives me on,” he says. “I’m really looking forward to being able to win – maybe even having to win.”
But to win the Tour of Flanders, Klier knows that he will have to find a way of beating Tom Boonen. “Tom is the man to beat. He's unbelievably talented and the best rider around at the moment," says Klier, but believes in his team. "We have a great tea. It is possible to beat Tom.”
Source: T-Mobile

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