PEZ-Clusive Interview: bigla’s Jennifer Hohl!
One of the coolest national champion’s jerseys has always been the Swiss one, all simple white cross on glorious red background. Wearing the women’s version through to summer 2009 is one of that country’s fast-rising youngsters. PEZ catches a quick chat with bigla’s Jennifer Hohl…
What does it feel like at the sharp end of a national title race? Swamped by pre-Tour excitement, we don’t hear so much about these races, even if they mean a lot to patriotic pros. We asked Jennifer to tell us about her gold-medal performance back in the summer…
Jennifer: The Swiss championship was very hard for me. The weather was very hot and so sunny. In the beginning, after three laps our team started to make a few small attacks. Things didn’t work out so good because all the girls in the race wanted to be in the front.
After four laps, we tried again – we attacked. I think we made ten or even 15 attacks and after that we got a break going; one group with eight girls, including me. We had three bigla girls, two from Cervelo, two from the Specialized team and one girl from Celeste.
Soon, we had a minute and a half on the peloton. In the last climb, I was to try an attack but all girls were looking at me. After that, my team-mate Andrea Thьrig and I attacked all the time, and one time 5km before the finish I had a break away.
So I just rode and rode alone… I got a gap, about 10 seconds …. it was very hard. By the final kilometre, I was so tired but I unconditionally wanted to win this race. So I go as fast as I can and I got it by 5 seconds ahead of Pascale Schinder from Cervelo, and Emilie Aubry of Campione Celeste. I was so proud and very lucky (Big smile!)
In August, Jennifer rode the Olympics road race as part of a strong looking Swiss team, but a crash halted her and she pulled out of the race. It was a disappointment especially as she told Pez that she’d gone to do the best race possible in support of Priska Doppmann and trade team-mate Nicole Brandli – and not for sightseeing!
PEZ: What is it like to be a member of the bigla team?
Jennifer: I really like this team, because it is a Swiss team and I get to ride with Nicole Brдndli, my idol, and Zulfia Zabirova. It’s nice to be a part of the team.
I’ve learned so much from racing with champions like Zabirova, Brandli and (Noemi) Cantele, most of all in tactics.
Wait, is that? Yes, it sure is, PEZ’s own Gord Cameron gets a shot in with Jennifer Hohl.
PEZ: Your website says that Nicole Brandli is your role model. What is she like as a person and as a rider?
Jennifer: She is very nice. I like her character. She is a good person whether she’s in the race or in a private capacity away from the bike – and she looks very good.
PEZ: Which is your favourite race to ride?
Jennifer: I really like the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
PEZ: What are your ambitions for cycling? Which races do you dream of winning?
Jennifer: Well, Vlaanderen is a favorite race for me. Also the European Championship, the World Championships, Bern (because it is the home Race for my bigla Cycling Team) and the Trophйe d’Or.
A happy Jennifer Hohl on the top step of the podium at the Swiss National Championships.
PEZ:What kind of a rider are you? A climber?
Jennifer: I would say that I’m an all-rounder.
PEZ: Tell us a little about Jennifer, the person…
Jennifer: I think my hobbies are like many cyclists … shopping, hanging out with my friends and sleeping! I like music like Enrique Iglesias and Rihanna. I like the magazine “in touch”.
22 years old and Swiss Champ, not bad!
PEZ: How about travelling?
Jennifer: It’s difficult because when you’re racing you don’t really ‘see’ a country or place, but I think my favorite place so far is Bilbao – very good for shopping!
PEZ: I know it’s a long way off, but after cycling, what will you do?
Jennifer: I think I’ll work in the office for my father. He has his own businesses, a garage and a transport and logistics business.
National champion at 22, Olympic rider, and learning the ropes with some of the best women’s racers around – things look pretty bright for Jennifer. Thanks to Jennifer for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing the photos.
Check out Jennifer’s website, and test your German reading skills: www.jennifer-hohl.ch Check out the bigla site: www.biglacyclingteam.ch And if you want to see even more of Jennifer, she’s modelling in the Cyclepassion 2009 calendar!