Double-Interview with Team NetApp’s Olympic participants Jan Barta and Daniel Schorn
NetApp's Jan Barta from the Czech Republic and Daniel Schorn from Austria were chosen to represent their countries in the Olympic Games 2012. Find out about their preparations, hopes and chances before they will start in their olympic race Juli 28th at 10.00 am.
You have both lately finished the Tour of Austria and you were race-free for a short time. What’s it like not to have any races on the schedule for a while? Are you happy to have a break or would you rather be back on the road?
Jan: I would prefer to be racing. It would be better preparation for the Olympics. Only when racing do you get the so-called “Rennhärte“, essential toughness for a race. I make up for the lack of racing with lots of training. After the Tour of Austria I spent a few days recharging, since you have to treat your body to some rest after a Tour. But now the daily training workouts begin again.
Daniel: I had my real break of the season after the Giro. I’ll have to simply compensate the lack of a race before the Olympics with more training, which will in actual fact probably be better for the rest of the season’s course.
One of the next races for you will be the London Olympics. In what way is the Olympics special for you?
Jan: You’re proud to have been chosen to represent your country in the World Games. That makes the Olympics special.
Daniel: In and of itself the Olympics are special, since they only take place once every four years and are the biggest sporting event in the world. Then of course it is my first time in the Games.
Without races you must have to be very disciplined in the race-free time and prepare by yourselves. How will you train in the next month so that you are in the best possible shape for the Olympics?
Jan: The race is 250 kilometers. So somewhat longer than the races we usually take part in. I train as I would for any other race. Of course the Olympics are special, but training stays the same.
Daniel: Preparation for the Olympics isn’t really any different from the preparation I do in the spring for the classic races at the beginning of the year. The most important thing is not to make any mistakes, i.e. not to get ill, to eat properly and to stay on top form mentally.
What kind of race will you take part in? Does the respective profile appeal to you?
Jan: The course isn’t either very easy or very difficult. The route we repeat nine times only has one mountain and the profile doesn’t look very difficult. I suppose that a bigger group of riders will come into the finish, and they will sprint for victory.
Daniel: As Jan, I’ll take part ”only” in the road race. The information I have received so far about the course makes me feel confident. I’ll see the more precise details at the course viewing on the 26th July.
Will the surroundings in the Olympics be the same as in a WorldTour Race? Will you compete against the same kinds of athletes or will other riders unknown to you be at the start? Does it make a difference if you know your co-racers?
Jan: The sportsmen who compete in the Olympic Games are the same ones I face in daily races. But they are the best in their countries. I have been racing in pro-races for two years. You know each other there.
Daniel: Since the Olympics are like no other competitive sport, the whole cycling elite will be at the start. Also we will for sure meet many riders from exotic places we’ve never met before. But of course it’s always good to know your opponents in a competition.
In your opinion what will be the biggest challenge in the Olympics and how will you try to overcome it?
Jan: The Olympic Races have a different character to regular races, since The Olympic Ideal counts here. The best riders in each country stand together at the start. The number of participants per country varies between one and six riders. Since cycling has developed differently in different countries, differences of performance become important. There are plenty of cycling nations, for example Belgium, England, Germany, who have really great riders and lots of starting places have been allocated to them. My country is going to take part with only two riders, so our chances are limited.
Daniel: As they say, you only grow through challenges. The Olympic Games 2012 will doubtless be one of them. I’ll let you know how I mastered it afterwards.
You both have special racing talents – will you get the opportunity to use and show your strengths at the Olympic Games?
Jan: My strongest discipline is actually the Time Trial. I am the current national champion for that and it also qualified me for the Olympic Games. However, my country only got two starting places for the road race. But this event suits me as well.
Daniel: Should I have an open ride and if I don’t need to support my countryman Bernhard Eisel, I will use my chances in the sprint by all means. If I don’t do that then I might as well stay at home!
And one more question: does every athlete take part to win? Do you have a chance for a medal? If not, what do you hope that the Olympics will give you?
Jan: There’s always a chance even if it seems unrealistic. There will be lots of cycling nations with good sprinters competing; therefore if it comes down to a group sprint it will be very difficult for me as a breakaway rider and Time Trialist. But a small chance is still a chance.
Daniel: The fact of having taken part in the Olympic Games is already amazing. The race will show how much of a chance I have of a medal, but as they say, hope is the last to die.