TALK WITH THE PRO: FRANZ HOFER
We had a chat with Franz Hofer, captain of the Bottecchia Factory Team. We asked him the secret to racing and how he and his GARDENA29 SQUADRA are approaching the season. Here’s what he replied.
Hi Franz, after 29 years on the bike and 21 as a mountain bike professional rider, what really matters during a race? Bike, legs or head?
Bike, legs and head are all fundamental things. It is certainly important to have a great vehicle capable of making a difference on the competition field, but also a good leg-head synergy. You have to be able to prepare yourself properly in winter, then train your legs, reach the optimal condition and have full mastery of the bike, because then during the races, when you are fighting for a podium it is the head that makes the difference. The importance of having a good bike allows you to have your head on that moment, to concentrate, without thinking about anything else.
This year you are riding with GARDENA29 SQUADRA, official full carbon of the Bottecchia Factory Team. Which is the relation you have established between bike-legs-head? What feelings?
Gardena is a great bike, both for cross country and more technical marathon. It responds really well to my physical needs let’s say and I found a really good feeling. The weight is contained compared to what it gives you as travel, the fork in fact works well up to 120 mm, even if in my opinion with 100 mm there is an excellent balance between reactivity with a very open head angle, and great downhill capabilities. , with high safety and driving stability even on the fastest and most technical stretches. What I really appreciate is the very stiff rear triangle, which adapts perfectly to my weight and power. With 72 kg I need a rigid rear stay that is able to translate all the power of my pedaling, and that gives me stability when I get up on the pedals. I found a great balance between my physical needs and the bike, which is capable of unleashing speed, power and performance.
One above all, what is the goal of the season?
This year I started with the idea of doing a good season in general. But every rider has his own preferences on races, and honestly the stage races like the 4Island in Croatia, Andora in late June and the Swiss Epic in mid-August are my favorites. With my experience I can manage them better and achieve good placings. However, I don’t queue up Italian races like the Hero, the Mythos, and the Italian Championship that I want to try to do in a certain way.
Born in Bolzano, class of ’81, he has been a mountain bike professional since 2001. He raced in the cross country discipline for more than 10 years, then moved on to the Marathon discipline, where he still runs in the Elite category today. He has won a cross country Under 23 Italian Campionship and several national and international competitions. In the Marathons he has won more than a few important races such as the Dolomiti Superbike, Granfondo di Montalcino, Granfondo di Monteriggioni. He wore the blue jersey for several years, and now at 41 he wears the Captain jersey of the Bottecchia Factory Team in the Elite category.