Having recently signed an extension to his BORA - hansgrohe contract, Anton Palzer is hoping 2024 is the year he really shines in the sport of cycling following his switch from ski-mountaineering (SkiMo).
"Sometimes not so fun," Palzer describes his first two years in the peloton to GCN. "The Tour of the Alps was terrible. I think the problem was also being afraid of having an accident or a crash, not that I was afraid about myself, but more afraid of being ruled out of races. Because I knew that I had to do a lot of races to get used to the world of cycling and it's a process."
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As Palzer points put himself though, to switch from one top sport to another is no mean feat. "If I told Chris Froome or Primoz Roglic to try and break my record SkiMo time on one of the biggest mountains in Germany, I am pretty sure that they would not survive this," he laughs. "So my process was normal, and it is different trying to change sports when you are 28 years old than if you are only 20."
In his first Grand Tour at the 2021 Vuelta a Espana, Palzer really saw the struggle at its worst. "I realise now that I was fucked," Palzer recalls. "I had gained 10kg because of water in my body, it was really shit."
Nevertheless, Palzer has shown enough to be rewarded with a new deal by BORA - hansgrohe, and in 2024 will even be on the same team as Roglic.
"Cycling is about what you have learned. Now, I know that the flat stages in cycling are also easy for me. But when you are completely new in the sport, then also the flat stages are hard for you because of the battle for positioning in the peloton," he assesses of his development. "Now I am more into it, cycling has become easier and I can focus on the really hard climbing stages. Cycling is a lot more fun for me now."