At the World Championships last year, Liane Lippert looked like the strongest rider in the race, but she didn’t win. The 25-year-old instigated ruthless attacks on the streets of Wollongong, she worked tirelessly on the front, and, as she admits, tried valiantly to get the other riders she was in the breakaway with to cooperate with her. In the end, despite all of this, Lippert finished in fourth place. No medal, no glory for her work. It’s a race she replays in her head, questioning what could have been if things had gone differently, dreaming of when she’ll get her next shot at rainbows.
“After the World Championships, there’s something that has been opened. It’s the race I want to win in my career,” Lippert says, assertively. She’s speaking from a hotel in Mallorca during her off-season, midway through a training camp with the German national team and she seems relaxed, propped up against a pillow. When we start to talk about that day’s racing in Australia, Lippert quickly becomes more animated.
“If I was not frustrated after the Worlds I think I would be strange. If I look back, I can not understand the other riders. I can only say that I had a really good day and I think it’s the World Championships and it should be all in for the medal,” Lippert says.
“I tried to motivate the others and tell them that the Dutch riders were not with us, so they would chase us, but it was not really a cooperation. I can’t understand why because some of them had even beaten me in the sprint a few weeks before. For some I can understand it; Elisa [Longo-Borghini] had somebody behind for example, but I think everybody else should ride, even if they get a podium, it’s really nice. Now, we all have nothing.”
Despite her frustrations, Lippert says she looks back on the race with no regrets from a personal perspective. “I don’t know if it would have made a difference if I waited one climb longer and then went really hard, because maybe then they still wouldn’t have worked with me,” she says.
“I don’t have to change my tactics, but I hope the others change their mindset after this race and that we have, in women’s cycling in general, a bit more cooperation. Sometimes riders think too much. In men’s cycling it is a bit different. If they have a chance to go for a medal at Worlds, they ride. Maybe a few wouldn’t, but in general they do.”
Lippert in her 2023 Movistar team kit (Image: Movistar Team / Cxcling Creative…
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