Bjarne Riis know how to win Schmitz GP Herning. He has both won it as a rider, sports manager and team owner, so you can safely say that he is an experienced man when it comes to the gravel roads on the unit.
He himself from Herning and has violated countless kilometers on the very same roads that race on Saturday to be played out on. It is not the homely feeling that makes that Bjarne Riis is fascinated by the Mercedes-Benz GP Herning.
"It's not a race like any other. It is a very special bike race, and I think it is one of the finest cycling race that is in Denmark. Now, it has gradually been run for many years, but the time it came out, it was indeed a bit of a novelty. It is an attractive bike race because it is exciting and challenging in a different way. We have not the wildest climbs, but the west wind is always difficult, and gravel roads put an extra stamp on it, "says Bjarne Riis to Kel-Berg GP Herning.
The experienced team owner has repeatedly excelled with great tactical maneuver, both as a rider and as sports director. Just the tactical skill is also crucial in a race like Mercedes-Benz GP Herning, like Bjarne Riis compares with the French cobblestone classic Paris-Roubaix
"Crash defects and so on do during technical. One thing is that a race is hard and demanding physically, but it is also technically demanding, I think that's fascinating, and I think it's a good combination. You do not win a race like Paris-Roubaix, because you are physically strong, you also need to be technically proficient, and the same goes for GP Herning. You have to think you purely tactical, "says Bjarne Riis.
But even if you can win a lot of tactical skill and technical ability, do Bjarne Riis also aware that you have to have a certain degree of luck. Kel-Berg GP Herning contains namely 31 km gravel roads, and with them come a lot of punctures.
"There must of course also luck. You can be unlucky to have some defects, but also be lucky enough to puncture the right places where you get fast service, with more tranquility, and where you're going fast again. So you can be unlucky to puncture some times when you do not have someone around you, you have to wait a little too long, and that's when being moved, and then it's all over. Maybe you can come up again, but then you have spent a lot of effort. The thing to play well also in, "says Bjarne Riis.
Bjarne Riis won the race three times in a row from 1996 to 1998. It was during those years he was and ran for victory in the Tour de France, but still managed thus him to turn classic riders like Kurt Asle Arvesen and Rolf Sorensen. One of the reasons why it was possible, was that Bjarne Riis had the proper motivation.
"When I drove in his time and won three times in a row when I came home, and I knew I had good form, and I said 'this race, I will win.' I had the option, I knew I came with a little more speed in my legs than most because I had run some tough races and knew at the time, I was reasonably well prepared. So I had a good advantage right there. Often it is the mental and motivation that come into play in a race like that, "says Bjarne Riis.
This year the Bjarne Riis' participation in the race as team owner when his team, Team Waoo, are in the race. They won the race in 2017 with Michael Carbel.