Sondre Holst Enger: “I’m interested only in winning”
Norwegian cycling is on a high for a couple of seasons, and one of the most fascinating prospects coming from that country is Sondre Holst Enger, the 21-year-old who made quite an impression during the past seasons. Riding for Sparebanken Sør, he was one of the revelations of 2013, when he scored some great results: the Coupe des Nations Saguenay, the GC in the Norway Cup, a 3rd place in the Tour of Norway – where he finished ahead of many World Tour cyclists – and a bronze medal in the road race at the World Championships in Florence.
One year later, things didn’t began as planned for the Norwegian rider, who had to deal with a lack of form until the second half of the season, when things finally started to roll. After a 5th place in the Tour des Fjords – his best result of the year in a stage race – he went on to win the U23 national title and then finished 5th at the Ponferrada World Championships. A very strong all-rounder with an amazing talent, Sondre Holst Enger was noticed by IAM Cycling, which signed him for the next two years. Giving how he fared so far, the young Scandinavian should have a successful pro career and the Swiss team will make sure of helping him develop, so that he can become one of the best riders in the world.
A couple of days ago, while he was in the training camp, I got the opportunity to sit down with Sondre and ask him a couple of questions about his U23 seasons and the expectations he has for his first pro year.
– Sondre, how did you start cycling?
At first, I was doing karate for five years, but my father, who was a cyclist with important results during his career, asked me why if I don’t want to try it. I said I will give it a shot, although I was afraid of losing. Eventually, I tried cycling and tought it was nice, even though things didn’t go so well in the first races. Still, I didn’t give up, I did some more races, and by doing that I got to understand the sport more and really liked it. That’s when I decided to switch from karate to cycling and give 100% there.
– What was the most important result for you so far?
There are two results, both which came in 2013: the Tour of Norway and the World Championships. That was my best season and I was really motivated do to good, after being ill in 2012. It was fantastic to be one of the protagonists in the Tour of Norway and finish 3rd there, and then, just a couple of months later, to come 3rd in the road race at the World Championships in Firenze.
– You’re fast in the finish and have a good punch. Do you think your future lies in the Classics or are you tempted also by stage races?
I want to focus on both, I’d like to get some nice wins in the Classics, but also in stage races. To be honest, I don’t really care too much about what race I do, if I like it and ride it, I give all than I can to get the win. I’m not interested in finishing on the podium or in the top ten. My goal is always to win.
– What races will you do this season?
I will begin in the Challenge Mallorca and I will also do the Volta a Catalunya and Amstel Gold Race. Then, in May, I hope to do some races in Norway, because those races are very important to me.
– On what did you focus on the training camps you did with IAM Cycling?
On getting in shape, because I really want to have a good start in my first pro season. I also worked on improving my climbing and sprint and things really went well. There is no pressure from the team, they all want me to learn as much as possible and find my rhythm. I want to show what I can do, to show my big potential and that I can be one of the best riders in the world in the years to come.
– Speaking of this, what races you would like to win?
I’d like to win some Tour de France stages, but the World Championships road race is also on my mind. Of course, I want to win in the Classics, it would be nice to take a victory in Amstel Gold Race or Liège–Bastogne–Liège.