Primoz Roglic had a background in winter sports before becoming one of the best cyclists of the current generation and now there’s a new skier ready to take on the professional peloton on the road.
Bora-hansgrohe will count on the services of Anton Palzer from April 2021 as the 27-year-old German will make the switch from ski to cycling.
“It may look like a daring venture and a certain risk is definitely involved, but we have been following Toni [Palzer] for quite a long time and are convinced of his physical abilities,” said team manager Ralph Denk. “You can see from examples like Roglič or Woods that such an experiment can be successful, and we have always said that we would scout within different sports.”
Palzer first came into contact with the German squad having approached team coach Helmut Dollinger this April to ask for support preparing for the world ski mountaineering championships.
“It was soon clear that some of his performance values, such as his VO2max, are exceptional,” Dollinger said. “In summer, he trains a lot on the bike anyway, so we examined his data in detail. However, the decisive factor for this change was that Toni was certain that he wanted to try it. The potential is there, but data isn’t everything.”
“Professional cyclist – for a long time this was just a thought in the back of my mind, a little dream that seemed unattainable and miles away from my realm of possibilities,” Palzer said. “The decision to embark on a new sporting career was only made during my contact with Bora-Hansgrohe and matured alongside several further discussions with the team.”
The 27-year-old had joined the squad for a week at a training camp in Austria this summer as he looks to prepare for life in the saddle.
“The challenges for me personally are, on the one hand, embarking on the development from individual sportsman to team player, and also a certain change of rhythm: Up until now I was primarily a winter sportsman, and now the focus is on summer,” Palzer said.