Danish cycling has been on the rise for a couple of seasons, with many young riders working their way up thanks to some impressive results. One of this cyclists is Mads Würtz Schmitz, who produced a sensational ride back in 2011 to win the gold medal in the Junior ITT race at the Copenhagen World Championships, before making a name for himself on the U23 scene.
Riding for CULT Energy Vital Water, Mads began the 2014 season with big ambitions and some solid results, but things changed after a crash in May. Since then, the talented Danish rider fought hard to come back at his very best and after a long journey, is now he came out of it even stronger than before.
– Mads, how do you see this first half of the season, which had its ups and downs?
I’m satisfied with my season so far. I’ve had some good results in the start, but no UCI win. But all’n’all I’m happy. I’ve had some mental problems after a crash in the 1.2 race Himmerland Rundt, so for a long period of time I wasn’t myself, and that made it difficult for me to perform on the bike, as well as in private life. But my team bosses got to me and we made a plan to get me back at my normal level. They helped me really much, and still do. I think this period of time have been good for me, even though my physical development stopped and I didn’t perform much in the races. For my mental side it has been a very hard process, but on the other side, I feel I know myself much better and I think this process made me even stronger on the bike. The life as a pro rider is really a tough way of living and many break down like I did this season. But in the pro life, it’s rare that you get help, you are just by yourself. I’m sure that what happened will help me a lot in the future. I’ve learned a lot from it and I’ve got some new tools to use when things are going bad in order to make it better again. So despite the problems, I feel good and comfortable with my season so far.
– Recently, you’ve won a Criterium in Aalborg. How important was that win for your morale?
The win in Aalborg was one of my most important wins in my carrier. I’ve struggled the whole summer with my mind. I still did some hard work on the bike, so my physical form was good, but my mind wasn’t there yet. So in Aalborg I finally succeeded and got a win ahead of Jakob Fuglsang. After the victory I got back the feeling I’ve had in the spring, that I could be again one of the best. So it was a really important win for me.
– Were you disappointed not being selected for the Tour of Denmark?
I’ve expected not to be in the selection for the Tour of Denmark. Of course I really wanted to race, but I’m in such a strong team that I have to be at 100% to go to a race that’s important for the team. I wasn’t at 100%, so I expected not to race, but this doesn’t mean I wasn’t disappointed not to go there.
– How are your legs after the training camp in Italy?
Now I’m feeling great. While my team raced the Tour of Denmark, I went on a training camp in Lucca, where I had a really hard week and really trained myself so hard in that one week that I couldn’t walk or do anything without sore pain in my legs. For me, the week was perfect. I knew I had to do something extraordinary now I wouldn’t race the Tour of Denmark. I needed to simulate my own stage race, so I wouldn’t be missing some hard hours on the bike.
– In what other races will you go this season?
I’m on my way to Tour de L’Avenir right now and the after L’Avenir, I have a race in Belgium and then some races in Denmark. As it is now, I’m not racing at the Worlds. But I’m the first guy in line for the U23 road race if any of the guys gets injured.
– And what goals do you have?
My goal is to perform at my best level in L’Avenir. I hope to be there for the team and maybe even be in the final for a stage win. I go to France with confidence and I believe I can do good. But my main goal is to get back completely mentally, and to find my top level before the season ends. And then I hope to take a win in a race. I don’t care which race. I just want to end the season with a top podium spot.
– What are your plans for 2015?
I haven’t made plans for next year yet, but I hope to stay with Michael and Christa Skelde on CULT Energy Vital Water.