Tomorrow Hugo is going to defend his Fixed Gear World Champion title at the Rad Race FIXED42 World Championships event in Berlin.
We reached out to ask him about his feelings regarding the new track, his physical and mental state after the recent Migration Gravel experience and his setup on the new Vigorelli Rainbow 2023.
How is your fitness level and preparation going into the race compared to last year? Do you feel stronger?
It’s particular because I trained a lot this year, more than last year and I was feeling good.
My stats are very good, and the goal was to arrive at this race at my peak. The problem is I’ve been hit by a car some weeks ago and my left leg is still weak. Also, I’m coming back from Kenya where I was racing the Migration gravel Race and since my return, I’m sick. I hope I will be able to save some energy and arrive in a relatively good shape in Berlin.
What do you think of the course this year? Any advantages or disadvantages compared to last year?
The track is shorter than last year. It will make the race even more nervous and I will have to stay focused each second. Last year, I was an outsider, so I think other racers were paying attention to me but not so much. This year, it will be different as I’m the last winner.
It will be even more difficult to make moves, go on a breakaway etc.. as many people will focus on me. I will have to be patient and respect my (secret) strategy.
Who do you think your biggest rivals are going to be?
There are maaaaany very good riders coming to claim the title. I don’t want to focus on one specific rider…We all have our qualities and our imperfections.. I will try to deal with the characteristics of all guys I know to make it to the finish in the best position possible.
Of course the T-Red armada seems to be the most dangerous, but we saw last year that solo racers (like me) such as Manuel Porzner (DCC) or Kai Luge (Canyon Rad Pack) were dangerous too. In a short race like this, everything can happen, so the goal will be to stay focused and use both my brain and my legs.
How many kms of fixed gear riding have you done this season in specific preparation for this race?
Honestly not that much. I had many gravel races in my early season so I was focused on road and gravel training. I’ve won the SCVDO Respublica in Italy (75km fixed gear from point A to point B in open traffic) and was 2nd in the Look Crit in Nevers (Fra) this year but these are the only fixed gear races I did this year. I suppose I rode 500/600 km of fixed gear this year. I hope it will be sufficient! [laughs]
Have you made any modifications to your bike setup for the race? Anything special and Rad Race specific?
This year I am racing with the Cinelli Vigorelli Rainbow 2023! The geometry is quite different from my old Vigorelli HSL 2016. The only thing I can tell regarding my ratio is that I will race with a bigger gear than last year (52x14).