Florian Vogel for Cycling Today: ”Nino, Absalon and Kulhavy are just really strong”

Florian Vogel is a MTB rider competing for Focus Team since 2015, after 13 seasons at Odlo-Scott, where he was teammate with Nino Schurter. Vogel won the silver medal in 2008 at Cross-Country World Championships and the bronze medal in 2007 and 2009. He also won the National Championship of Switzerland in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Cycling Today: First of all, tell us how did you start cycling?

Florian Vogel: When I was 12 years old, at school a friend of mine bought a mountain bike so I got in touch with and finally started racing one year later (1995).

CT: Have you had any idols from cycling when you were a kid?
FV: Not really, there where a couple of Guys like Hans „NO WAY” Rey or John Tomac, but I never had some which was like a big idol.

CT: You raced in few road competitions some years ago. What is the thing that mountain biking gives you and the road can’t offer you?

FV: I really like road racing and I also train a lot on the road bike, but MTB is special, I love being in the forest and there’s no team needed to be really successful at the top level – sure you need a good mechanic, a team manager, but it’s not like the road where you don’t win races without a really strong team. It’s more individual and if you win it’s because you’re the strongest, if you loose it’s you that loose, it is really straith forward and you can’t hide!

CT: For some years now, the World Championships and World Cup are a business in two between Schurter and Absalon. Why is so hard for any other rider to break this domination? Are you still hoping for a world champion title?

FV: A strong physis is key to win races and in a MTB race normaly the strongest rider wins, tactics play a far smaller role than on the road so the likes of Nino, Absalon and Khulavy are just really strong and that’s why they hard to beat. However my goal always is to do my job perfect and I believe I can still improve a bit! If everything goes according to plan I might be able to beat them ones in a while.

CT: What are your objectives this year? Are the Olympics a goal for you?

FV: My goal is to reach my physical limit and be able to perform with it! If I reach this results will be the logic consequences out of it! Olympics? It’s a big race like worlds or WC and if I race I will do well!

CT: What do you think about mechanical doping, have you ever heard about such things in mountain biking?

It’s really bad, cheating in general is bad but you need kind of a criminal energy to put a motor in your bike. I don’t think it’s a huge problem in professional cycling but there’s definitely some guys who do it! Anyway, the UCI does a good job in protecting the sport from it I believe.