Marc Hirschi: I will be wearing the UAE flag with pride
In this week's column from UAE Team Emirates, their new Swiss rider reveals his plans for a challenging season
I wanted to be a professional cyclist ever since I was small. I started cycling because of my dad. Although not a professional, he was an avid rider himself and loved to cycle in his spare time. When I was younger, we spent a lot of time together out on the bike, and he taught me to love the sport. That is where it all started.
Now, I’m in my third season on the World Tour and my first with UAE Team Emirates having joined in January. Last year was difficult for everyone but following the lockdown and our return to cycling, I did really well. I won a stage at the Tour de France on my grand tour debut for Team Sunweb and won bronze in the world road championships.
This year I planned to start the season slowly and reach my full potential around about this time. I had just joined a new team, so it always takes some time to settle, and this was my first goal for the season. I’ve ticked that off now and feel at home thanks to the warm welcome I received.
Heading into the summer months, I’ve got one eye on the biggest race in the world, the Tour de France and hope to build on my stage win last year and perform well for the team this season. I was competing against Tadej [Pogacar] and watched his emphatic performance to take the victory last year. Now, I’m in the same squad as him and it will be an honour to compete in the Tour alongside him and the other UAE Team Emirates guys.
This year is also an Olympic year and Tokyo is a big focus for me. I’m super motivated for the Olympics road race and will be looking to emulate the success of my good friend, agent and compatriot, Fabian Cancellara, when he won two gold medals in the time trials.
Fabian is a hero for me and is much more than just an agent or a manager. He gives me a lot of advice and we work really well together – it always helps when we are from the same country (Switzerland). My first memory of him was in Peking where he won his first gold medal in the individual time trial and silver in the men’s road race at the summer Olympics in 2008.
Eight years later, he did it again and won gold in the individual time trial in Rio. He’s a big inspiration for me and I hope I’ll be able to achieve what he achieved in Tokyo.
Pogacar wins Tour de France
This year, I’m also focusing on the World Championships in September. Wearing the rainbow colours on my jersey for a full year would be amazing and is definitely a dream race for me. It would be incredible, and I hope I can achieve this someday in the next few years.
Away from racing, I like to spend time with my family, girlfriend and my friends at home. Just being able to relax with good people around me. Being at home with my loved ones helps me to ‘reload’ – something that is important amid the stresses of being on the road for the majority of the year. It is hard being away for such a long time and being so far away but I love cycling and it makes me cherish the valuable time I have with them when I do come home.
I’d like to thank all the fans in the UAE for giving me such a warm welcome and I will be wearing the UAE flag with pride in my upcoming races. I hope that everyone has a fantastic Ramadan and is staying safe. See you all soon!
Published: April 30, 2021 01:00 PM