TOM LOUAGE GOT 5TH AT THE TOUR DE SUISSE CHALLENGE
We would like to congratulate Tom Louage, our Senior Category Manager, to a successful 5th rank in his category at the Tour de Suisse Challenge (10th place in total out of almost 450 people)! #WeAreOdlo
The Tour de Suisse Challenge is held within the framework of the Tour de Suisse. It is a pretty unique event since it's one of the few events where amateurs can compare themselves directly to the best cyclists in the world. The field of pro's that joined the Tour de Suisse this year was extremely strong with athletes like Tom Dumoulin (current Giro d'Italia winner), Peter Sagan (World Champion), Greg Van Avermaet (Olympic Champion) and Philippe Gilbert (Belgian Champion).
Tom planned to join the Individual Time Trial (or Prologue) in the morning. It's already the 3rd time that he joins this event and the level is getting higher every year. "I love cycling but with my job and family (2 kids), I cannot train very long so I focus on time trials where short intense efforts are the focus points. I take my bike to work every day and on the way home, I always do specific interval sessions of around 1 hour each. In total, I train between 10-12 hours per week. For longer road races, I would have to train more to get at the same level ", explains Tom.
Since the race course was close to the Odlo's headquarter (Cham), Tom was able to practice on the course several times before the actual race. Tom said : "The Tour de Suisse Prologue was for me the highlight of the first half of the season. I really peaked for this event so I knew I was in very good shape." His race start was at 9:00 in the morning, so he had to wake up at 5:30 to get his body ready to perform at the highest level. After a specific warm up session on the turbo trainer, he was ready "to give it my all". The first kilometre of the course was a little downhill and he soon hit over 65km/h. In such an intense race, the adrenaline is often taking the upper hand so he had to be careful not to overdo it. On one short but steep hill, he tried to control the power without losing too much momentum. He decided to stay on the big ring instead of shifting to the inner ring and that decision lost him a few seconds on the top because he lost a little of the dynamics to really roll over the hill. In the technical part afterwards he also hesitated a little bit since he was about to overtake the person that started in front of him. But because of this he still had enough power in the legs to really push on the second part of the course. The last 2 kilometres he had the fastest time of all participants at over 53km/h - A good sign that he paced well. His average pace for the whole race was 46.7km/h.
In the end, Tom reached a good 5th place in his category and a 10th place overall out of almost 450 participants. "My legs were totally empty and I gave it my all. I was a little disappointed with the result as I expected to be on the podium but in the end, there wasn't much more I could have done. Losing also keeps you motivated to work even harder for the future. The best rider was 15 seconds faster than me and if I analyse my race I feel it's achievable to close that gap until next year," said Tom, who was only 5 seconds away from the podium.
In the afternoon the pro's completed the same route. The winner Rohan Dennis was 1:20 minute faster than Tom Louage, Tom Dumoulin more than 1 minute and Philippe Gilbert more than 30 seconds. The last pro however had almost exactly the same result as he did. Good to know for Tom that the pro's are not completely out of reach! Also funny is that current Olympic Time Trial champion Fabian Cancellara was joining the race as an amateur. He didn't take it very seriously but Tom was still happy to finish in front of such a legend. And we are as well, congratulations Tom!
The first half of the season is now over for Tom Louage. After a small break from training and racing he will focus this summer on the Tortour race around Switzerland and the King of the Lake time trial in Austria (the biggest TT for amateurs in the world), where he also hopes to be in the top 10. Fingers crossed for Tom!