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Marlen Reusser: ‘At this moment of the season, I’ve never felt this good’

Swiss rider excited about working with Anna van der Breggen as her sport director as SD Worx.

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Marlen Reusser has the world at her feet.

After racking up a hugely impressive palmarès in her first three seasons of racing, the cycling latecomer has a big-ticket deal with SD Worx in her back pocket.

Reusser continued her upward trajectory last year with silver medals in the time trials at the Olympic Games and world championships, as well as the European time trial title. However, with some big changes over the winter, 2022 is on course to be her best season yet.

In addition to moving to a new team, Reusser has also started working with a new coach in Hendrik Werner after four years with Marcello Albasini – the father of former pro Michael Albasini. Werner has coached a number of top riders, including Tom Dumoulin when he won the Giro d’Italia with Team Sunweb, and he is now a coach at the men’s Bora-Hansgrohe squad.

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“I planned this long ago, because I was for a while with my coach, and I thought it’s time to try something new,” Reusser said in a recent call with the media. “I like trying new things. So, I work with Hendrick now and this is very good. We have a very good way of communication of seeing how I feel what we do. For sure, he’s planning other ways of training with me than the coach before because every coach is different.

“This winter is the first winter in my life that I was training that much. Like I was all the time either in Spain with the team or Majorca with my coach. So, I was really having some good solid weeks of training. I think at this moment of the season, I’ve never felt this good.”

At 30, Reusser is still learning the ropes of racing and figuring out how to get the most out of her own talents. She learned a valuable lesson last year about pacing herself through the season, which is something she’s still getting to grips with.

In 2021, the Swiss road race and time trial champion had her heart set on winning a TT rainbow jersey for her 30th birthday but it wasn’t to be as Ellen van Dijk took her second title by 10 seconds over the Swiss. Though Reusser had been confident of taking the win, she could feel the fatigue of a long season beginning to set in

“That was the first time in cycling, it was a little bit hard for me at the finish line. Because really, it was really, it actually was the biggest goal of the season for me,” Reusser said. “I was so strong between Olympic Games and world championships, I really peaked my performance so much in between, and I felt that it’s already going because I’d almost every race, I was doing so many things. I had no gap no pause no recovery nowhere.

“I was slowly really, really done. I felt this coming in Flanders, but I didn’t let this thought into my head, and I went in full gas. Retrospectively, I know I was not in my best shape anymore.”

With only three professional seasons under her belt, Reusser believes that it was a little bit of inexperience and lack of knowledge about her own body that led her to take on too much.

“That’s something I discussed with my new coach because riders that are doing this for 20 years, or even 10, have good statistics about what works out well what is not,” she said. “With me, it’s just random. We don’t have so much data about what works so it’s still a bit of guessing. In the end, on that level, it’s really important to set your peaks and this is something that is still needed needs to be found out for me still.”

Working with Anna van der Breggen

While there’s still a lot for Reusser to learn, one person that will be there to guide her, as well as her coach, will be rider-turned-DS Anna van der Breggen. The pairs crossed paths several times during the short overlap in their respective careers.

Indeed, it was van der Breggen that took gold ahead of Reusser at the Imola world championships and Olympic Games in Tokyo. There was little time to talk when they were duking it out on the road, but Reusser is excited to work with her former rival and she believes it could be beneficial to her.

“I didn’t know her very well before and I didn’t know how it would be in the end to have her there,” Reusser said. “She is very cool. Like, she is thinking so much about us, what we can do and giving advice also to me. I mean, we are almost the same age we were really competitors. We’re always on the podium together, well not always, but it’s really funny. And I really like it and also like that she’s seen me in the races, so she knows where my problems lie, and so it’s really good.”

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.