Just enough – but not too much
Compared to other racers, Christoph’s setup could be considered to be more on the thorough side of minimal, carrying a total of 15L of bag space compared to Robin’s 8L. It’s clear from this year’s race that Christoph likes to minimise risk as much as possible – from choosing to take the longer way on road to avoid time-consuming mechanicals, to packing a few more spares that means he’ll be able to fix any unavoidable problems himself rather than take time out to find a bike shop. How many other riders do you think are carrying spare spokes?
Layers of success
One striking omission from Christoph’s kit list is something like a down jacket or insulated gilet – instead opting for just a long sleeve thermal winter jersey and a rain jacket. For someone who likes to minimise risk, this is certainly an interesting choice – but as an experienced cyclist, Christoph clearly knows what he can tolerate in terms of temperature, even on chilly mountain descents.
Fast food and caffeine hits
When you’re riding for the win, being efficient with your time is one of the most important things you can do. Riders often report feeling overwhelmed in supermarkets and gas stations, faced with making decisions about what they need in a timely manner. For this reason, Christoph has said that he prefers stopping at smaller resupply points, limiting the time he has to spend wondering around large supermarkets looking for what he wants and eliminating the dreaded “faff time”. To give himself a head start at the beginning of the race in Geraardsbergen, Christoph packed multiple sachets of electrolytes, bars and gels so that he could fuel on the bike for longer before stopping.
The difference a year makes
While Christoph’s kit list remains basically unchanged from last year, his mindset would have shifted significantly. Talking to race organisers on The Transcontinental Race podcast before the start, Christoph mentioned feeling like he had nothing to lose last year, whereas this year there was a big expectation that he would do well. While it might have been easy to let the pressure get to him, Christoph pulled off a perfectly executed race, leaning into his strengths and sticking to a plan.