In our 2018 review, Leopard Pro Cycling looks back to the season with its riders. In this first part, Konrad Gessner takes you back to January and February, when he made his debut in the Leopard colours.
"All in all, you can say thay my season was not satisfying at all..."
After being announced in November as new sprinter for the team, Konrad Gessner first wore the Leopard colors - at least the shorts - during the U23 Talent Cup of the Six Days of Berlin. After some successful days in which he won the Madison, he finished the competition in 3rd overall. These were some signs of great things to come, which were only confirmed during the team training camp in Mallorca, early February.
Konrad Gessner: "I was really looking forward to the first joint training trips and of course, coming from a different team, I was curious to see how quickly I could integrate myself into the Leopard team. This went all fairly easy since I was greeted very warm from the beginning. In Mallorca riders and management talked with each other a lot and thanks to being together there for several days, we were ready to race."
Expectations were high, since Konrad had proven himself as a strong sprinter with amongst others the win in the U23 Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt, 2nd at the U23 German Championships, 6th at the Elite German Championships, a top three sprint finish at the Tour de l’Avenir and top results at the Tour de Normandie and Flèche du Sud. For 2019, Konrad set a clear objective: to win (one day) races that might raise the attention of the professional teams.
Konrad was one of the riders who was selected for the Tour of Antalya and quickly made his mark by finish third in the bunch sprint at the first official racing day of the season. Later at the Tour of Antalya, he gathered another top ten sprint result. Konrad and Leopard then went to the Tour de Normandie with great spirit, but were quickly setback by a nasty crash in which Konrad broke both wrists.
Konrad Gessner: "The Tour of Antalya was the only highlight of my 2018 season. Of course I look back with positive feelings to this race, as I was able to show what one could expect from me and what I expect from myself. I am happy with the results in Turkey, it was great to see that we did so little wrong in only the first race of the season. It was a great sign of things to come, but then I crashed at Tour de Normandie. All in all, you can say that my season was not satisfying at all, as I was never able to come back to racing in good shape. This was the final time that I look back to it and I am now focussing on 2019."