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The winter has been long, the competitions have been few. A perfect opportunity to land, recharge and raise the minimum level another notch before the 2022 season. Maybe it’s hours and hours on the trainer in the garage, or it’s layers upon layers of clothing to capture the few bright hours we are offered a December day – Regardless, it will soon become clear who did the hard work and never gave up when it felt though.
We’re in mid-February and it is already starting to tingle in Swedish cycling. The competition premiere is getting closer and for Team Serneke Allebike it will take place already at the end of February in the form of two new additions to the team – the very promising U23 riders Victor Philipsen and Rasmus Niekrenz from Denmark.
For the well-read, Rasmus and Victor are already well-known names and rode the season of 2021 on their Allebike Majestic FS. This year, they put on the black and white jerseys and step in for their first season in Team Serneke Allebike.
This week they visited Allebike Factory together with Emil Lindgren, Oscar Lind and Richard Larsén, to pick up this year’s racing machines. Follow us a day behind the scenes and get to know our riders a little bit better!
It is Tuesday the 8th of February 4 am in the morning when Rasmus and Victor gets in the car. With their coffee cups close at hands and music thundering out from the speakers they feel ready to take on the solid way between Holte, Denmark to Alingsås, Sweden. At 8:30 they arrived att Allebike HQ and are welcomed by a happy and waving Emil. Minutes later, Richard arrives form Gothenburg and Oscar from Uddevalla – the crew is gathered!
At Allebike HQ, bikes have been built since early morning and it is time for the daily breakfast meeting. Coffee is drunk and there are various important topics to be discussed, all from the weekly planning to Watts and FTP. (Who handles most watt/ kg at the company this week? And who managed to outride who in the notorious ”Mastenbacken” yesterday?!)
When it has been established who trained the most, and who trained the least (of course with acceptable excuses!) This week, the others return to their daily work. The team members with media and communications manager Jessica Elina will remain. A short meeting with information for the upcoming season.
When we are the most focused with some incredibly exciting hashtags and Instagram guidelines, our handyman – veteran Gunnar Vincent knocks us on the shoulders. One out of three trucks with a total of 96 pallets of wheels from DT Swiss has rolled into the parking lot – time to work! No one gets away.
40 minutes later everyone is warmed up and ready. It is time to complete this years race bikes out in the production, before the first test run.
The bikes are already well prepared by team director Alexander (Vincent), but the final details must be in place before they are complete and ready for race. Vincent’s carbon bottle cage and Shimano XTR M9100 pedals are mounted, air pressure and return are set in the front and rear shocks (DT Swiss 232 One) and the DT Swiss XRC 1200 Spline wheels are equipped with tires and cassettes.
When the bikes are ready, this year’s personal equipment will be handed out. Race clothing from Vincent’s Race Wear and Allebike, glasses from Bliz Eyewear of the models Breeze, Matrix and Fusion, shoes from Shimano Sphyre XC902 and helmet from Lazer, Genesis MIPS.
The pouring rain has been replaced with sunshine just in time for the bikes and equipment to be ready and set for a testride. The atmosphere is starting to remind me of cows seeing grass for the first time after a long winter! I have to put in some real effort to get Victor and Rasmus to sit down with me to exchange a few words about the upcoming season, but I manage to attract them with a cappuccino in our Factory Café. Moments later Alexander och Emil smells the coffee and joins us as well. (Easies way to trick cyclists – coffee)
As mentioned – facing season 2022 the Danish U23 cyclists Victor Philipsen and Rasmus Niekrenz puts on the black and white team jerseys. We were contacted by the young promising cyclists already in 2020 and in 2021 they raced all season on Allebike Majestic FS. They for sure delivered some good results both in Denmark and international but most importantly – they became role models and idols for both young and old.
With that said, it felt like an obvious choice for 2022 to give them both the chance to race in Team Serneke Allebike. This year they will put their main focus on the UCI MTB World Cup and races around Europe and other parts of the world. They will do this together with Oscar Lind as Team Serneke Allebike’s U23 and talent team.
“We firmly believe in these guys and the investment we are making in young talents. They have already showed us that they’ve got what it takes and that they are ready to go all in. I am sure that they can go a long way with support and guidance from the team. Sometimes it’s about pushing, sometimes it’s about holding back, this is an investment far more long-term than just for 2022 ” says Alexander
He goes on to point out the importance of having Emil as a coach alongside his own racing.
“Emil has done 18 years as a professional and is an extremely experienced cyclist. I think this will come in handy as he can guide the younger riders in this adventure.”
During the season 2022, Emil however will return to mostly Scandinavian races with main goals such as the Swedish marathon cup, Cykelvasan and national championships.
“I have fully enjoyed my last years as an elite cyclist and I am still extremely hungry for success, but I am also a person with to many irons in the fire sometime and above all I’m a dad to two awesome guys. Making a World Cup season requires 8-10 weekends abroad per year in addition to the World Cup itself just to collect points and manage to get in the ranks, and I do not have that time right now. I do no exclude anything, but right now I am incredibly excited to challenge on the Swedish and Nordic tracks after two seasons with less racing at home, at the same time as we go all in at Allebike factory and other fun projects. ” Lindgren says.
In 2021, Victor won double U23 gold in the Danish championships, XCM and XCO.
“My best memory from 2021 must be the National Championships. It was held on my hometrack and the cheers were completely crazy. I finished as best U23 rider both races, ” says Victor.
Victor describes himself as a disciplined cyclist who loves training.
“Honestly, I like every kind of workouts, I love to be in shape and the fact that you can see progression when hard work pays off. That’s one of the best feelings I know. That’s why I also do a lot of running and gym alongside cycling when the time is right. “
Between workouts, he works at his dad’s company and recharges his batteries best by hanging out with friends and his girlfriend.
I ask Rasmus to tell me about his best cycling memory from 2021 and he laughs quietly to himself before he says that it must be the World Cup in Nove Mesto. It might not be one of his top results, but it was completely crazy conditions in the mud and rain. “Five minutes before start, the sky opened up and the track became so slippery and muddy that it was a challenge just to get around. Even top 3 had to jump off and run parts of the track. I started at the back and spend the whole race riding through the field. It was a test of patience and I learned to stay calm in a tough situation – an experience that I will bring with me into 2022.’’
Rasmus is a very technical rider who’s not afraid of some mud, the opposite, he loves to compete in the rain and hopes for similar conditions next year.
Learning and experience is something he values highly and he continues by saying that his goal for 2022 is to develop as a cyclist and to constantly improve. Fully aware that it will be tough to start at the back of the field (UCI points from the years before decides starting order in the WC), he still hopes for some good results internationally and several top results nationally.
At the time of writing this, Rasmus and Victor are preparing for a two-week training camp in Spain which will finish off with Chelva C1 XCO Race. Their goal is to get good training, kick off the race season and hopefully collect some valuable UCI points.
They have both prepared well during the winter with a lot of mass training and some gym. In the last months, they leveled up with high-intense intervals to get as competition-like training as possible and they both agrees with having a good feeling about the upcoming season.
”The entire last year I dreamed about being a part of this team, now we are here. I have worked hard for this and I will continue to do so. When the entire team is around there is such a nice atmosphere. We both feel very welcome and I have a feeling that we already have created relations for life. I am super excited for the upcoming season with the team. I think we can do some really cool things and create great memories together.” – Victor.
Wow! with those overwhelming words we clear out our coffee cups, time for a testride! It only takes a couple of minutes before all five cyclists drive away across the parking lot towards ”Emilbanan” and ”Dennisbanan” our two test runs and selection trails. Fun fact: this is where Oscar first caught our attention a few years ago, which led to him becoming a part of the team!
The weather decided to be on its best behavior (well, as good as you can expect in February) and after a few laps on the tracks, Emil takes the lead and shows the other cyclists one of his favorite rides in the local area. Barely two hours later five satisfied but slightly frozen cyclists returns, the material as well as the ride is well approved. At Allebike HQ, the sauna is heated and the goulash soup is served.
We all agrees that goulash and sauna is one great way to finish of a day with the team and when the bowls are empty it is time to head home.
This years first kick-off with the team is done. We are all feeling super excited for the race season to begin and to take it on both internationally and nationally.
Rasmus, Victor and Oscar will put all their effort into climbing the world ranking by racing internationally with focus on the World Cup. Alongside they will race nationally when the timing is right.
Emil will be racing mostly in Scandinavia with main focus on the Swedish Marathon series, Cykelvasan, SWE cup and national championships.
Richard will combine national and international roadracing with the Allebike supported Continental team MAIF, and Scandinavian Marathon races together with Emil and Team Serneke Allebike.
Text and photo: Jessica Blomqvist ( jessicaelinas @ Instagram )