18.06.2019 08:30

KATUSHA Super Stagiaire contest: six riders selected for second round

The dream to be a professional cyclist: KATUSHA and RennRad magazine make it true. We are looking for the Super Stagiaire. The winner will earn a trainee "internship" in Team KATUSHA ALPECIN.

Almost 200 cyclists wanted to take this opportunity. Six of them were chosen: they enter the second round of KATUSHA’s professional casting.

Allrounders, sprinters, time trial specialists - a few hours after the application phase was opened, the first applications were received on the RennRad homepage. Many of them promising young talents with very different strengths. In the end, the members of the jury of experts from the KATUSHA ALPECIN chose six young athletes.

All riders have one thing in common: their performances justify this opportunity. The chance to experience what it means to be a professional cyclist in the WorldTour. The chance to prove yourself. From now on they will be in contact with the staff of KATUSHA ALPECIN and will be equipped with KATUSHA clothing. The jury consists of later teammates, coaches and managers of the World Tour team. 


Watts, training & teamwork

Cycling is more than pure performance - it's not just about the watts that the bike computer shows. The Super Stagiaire also has to be a team player. He comes in the middle of the season as a rookie in a team. He has to fill his roles. The ones assigned to him by the team - and the ones he fights for himself. From the beginning he has to fit into the team. He needs to know how he supports his captain in the race - and he has to take responsibility when the racing situation requires it. He has to sacrifice himself for his teammates - and he has to stand out from the crowd if he is responsible for the success of his team. It's about missions in the elite of cycling. The demands made on young talents will be high - because competitive sports also mean pressure. Applicants must show that they can prove it. 

The WorldTour career began as a stagiaire for most of the top professionals - including Nils Politt, who joined the team at the age of 21 in 2015 as an stagiaire.

He established himself in the highest class of cycling. Four years later, in 2019, he proved to be one of the strongest riders of the spring season - at the latest after his 2nd place in Paris-Roubaix. At the age of 25, he is a leader of the team.

An exception made the jury around General Manager José Azevedo in the selection: They awarded a "wild card" to Joshua Huppertz. The rider of the continental Lotto-Kernhaus team is already 24 years old - over the age limit of 23, which the jury had set for the contest. In recent years he was probably the strongest German rider on continental level. „We are surprised he has not raced so far for a Pro Continental or WorldTour team. He deserves a second chance.“ Despite his age, he makes it to the next round - and has to compete with his equally outstanding competitors, all riders in the U23 and Continental level. 

Nearly 200 applications were received in the first phase of the casting. The jury selected among them the six most promising applicants. Crucial: the performance and the potential. On the basis of the previous cycling career, the jury of experts decided to analyze the results, the training performance and the motivation of the many strong candidates. The jury consists of the leaders of the World Tour team Katusha-Alpecin: managers, coaches and riders.


The jury

| Alexis Schoeb | President KATUSHA Sports & Team KATUSHA ALPECIN

| José Azevedo | General Manager Team KATUSHA ALPECIN

| Erik Zabel | Performance Manager

| Kevin Poulton | Head coach

| Nils Politt | Pro cyclist and future teammate of the Super Stagiaire

| Rick Zabel | Pro cyclist and future teammate of the Super Stagiaire


The candidates



1) Aaron Grosser

Team: Bike Aid Pro Cycling  

Age: 22

Height: 175cm

Weight: 67 kg 

Type: mountain resistant sprinter 

Residence: Hamm

Years of training: 17

Training KM’s 2018: 19.500

Best successes: 6th place around Cologne (2018), 7th place 1st stage Tour of Germany (2018), 2nd place overall Belgrade-Banjaluka (2019), 7 x podium at UCI races 2019

Favorite race: 

"Classics. I get along well with hilly profiles. You always have to be well positioned, be able to go to the limit again and again on the climb, then quickly regenerate - and then go to the final with good legs."

Favorite training session: 

"An intense sprint training with a focus on strength or speed. These include series with appeals over six to 20 seconds. Usually there are three series with three to five sprints. Total time: two hours."

The secret of success and tip: 

"Being disciplined - implementing every training 100 percent according to specifications. Eat healthy and after training a short regeneration sleep. Tip: Variety in training: always set new, intense goals."



2) Patrick Haller

Team: Team Heizomat-Rad-Net.de

Age: 21

Height: 183cm

Weight: 68 kg

Type: Allrounder, time trial 

Residence: Ingolstadt

Years of training: 14

Training KM’s 2018: 22,000

Greatest successes: German champion individual time trial U23 (2017), 4th place overall ranking Belgrade- Banjaluka (2019), 2nd place of a stage Belgrade- Banjaluka (2019)

Favorite race: 

"Classics. With short climbs, cobblestones and wind, you need to be in command of the bike, race course, assertiveness, teamwork and tempo resistance - and you still have to be able to attack in the end."

Favorite training session: 

"Several hours of basic training sessions in the preparation for the season, preferably on Mallorca or Gran Canaria. Because they are the basis for a successful season, and necessary to be able to accelerate in the race."

Secret of success and tip: 

"Enjoy the sport! Despite all seriousness and focus. My tip: train disciplined, have a goal in mind, but never lose the joy of cycling."



3) Juri Hollmann

Team: Team Heizomat-Rad-Net.de 

Age: 19

Height: 184 cm

Weight: 71kg

Type: Allrounder, time trial 

Residence: Hürth

Years of training: 8

Training KM’s 2018: 20,000

Greatest successes: 4th place Junior World Championships Individual time trial (2017), 12th place U23 European single time trial (2018), 26th Ronde van Vlaanderen U23 (2019) 11th place Eschborn-Frankfurt U23 (2019)

Favorite race: 

"The Tour of Germany. In 2018 I was allowed to compete against pros as continental rider. It's not a very mountainous stage race, but the profile is challenging. And the level is extremely high. Allrounder qualities are in demand."

Favorite training session: 

"Ideally in the morning after a good breakfast for four to five hours in a nice training group and with short programs that bring variety. Preferably in the Eifel or in Mallorca."

Secret of success and tip: 

"Structured training, healthy nutrition and targeted preparation for the respective competitions are important. But my key to success is not to lose the fun and the easiness. "



4) Joshua Huppertz

Team: Team Lotto-Kernhaus 

Age: 24

Height: 174cm

Weight: 64 kg

Type: Allrounder 

Residence: Wiesbaden

Years of training: 10

Training KM’s 2018: 25,000

Greatest successes: 1st place Arno Wallard Memorial (2018), 17th place European Champs Elite Glasgow (2018), 5th place overall Tour de Normandie (2019)

Favorite race: 

"Classics in Belgium or the Netherlands. Since race is properly driven from start to finish. Crosswind, gravel passages, positional battles - that's how a cycling race has to be. "

Favorite training session: 

"MotoTraining: In the slipstream of a moped or car, I can ride fast and intensively for about an hour, partly uphill. This simulates the intensity of a race. I often do it all in the week before an important race. "

Secret of success and tip:

"You should always have fun. I like it when the mood is good before the race. The night before the race, I stretch, and three hours before the start there is my last big meal: pasta or rice. "



5) Miguel Heidemann

Team: Herrmann Radteam 

Age: 21

Height: 187 cm

Weight: 69 kg 

Type: Climber, time trials 

Residence: Darmstadt

Years of training: 5

Training KM’s 2018: 20,000

Greatest successes: 1st place German Champs team time trial (2018), mountain jersey Istrian Spring Trophy (2019), 10th place Palio del Recioto (2019)

Favorite race: 

"Eschborn-Frankfurt. Experiences a very good and the atmosphere is great due to many spectators along the way. The course is also very selective. "

Favorite training session: 

"High-intensity intervals on the mountain, each with 40 seconds of intensity and a break of 20 seconds, or moto training with the time trial bike. These are very hard units - but the length and number of repetitions make it easy to control fatigue. "

Success secret and tip: 

"A clear structure and a long-term goal in training. I prefer to work steadily and slowly on my form. This is more than wanting to head through the wall. And the risk of injury is lower. "



6) Richard Banusch

Team: LKT-Team Brandenburg 

Age: 20

Height: 185 cm

Weight: 78 kg

Type: Time Trial, Track Endurance Specialist 

Residence: Vetschau

Years of training: 10

Training KM’s 2018: 21,000

Greatest successes: 3rd place German Champs TT U23 (2018), track: German Champion (Madison) (2018), 2nd place German Champs points race & 4er pursuit (2018)

Favorite race: 

"Time trial, alone or in the team. Nowhere else it's only up to the own performance. And the team motivates each other to achieve maximum performance. "

Favorite training session: 

"My training focuses are strength endurance and maximum oxygen uptake. For this I combine strength training twice a week and very intensive interval training. I prefer to train short, high-intensity units."

Secret of success and tip: 

"While training time, the powermeter is very important. In addition, I take a close look at the racetracks and my training data and make a plan: When can I deliver what performance without breaking in? "


How the casting works?

Through the RennRad website, riders have been able to compete with their race results from 2017 to today for the Super Stagiaire in Team KATUSHA ALPECIN. This first application phase has already been completed. RennRad and KATUSHA have selected six riders to join the Katusha Super Stagiaire Team.

Phase 2: suitability

All six riders who reach the second phase will be featured in the RennRad magazine and KATUSHA social & website. They complete a performance test, are equipped with KATUSHA clothing and participate in races of their teams. At the end of the second phase, a winner will be announced: the Super Stagiaire 2019.

Phase 3: race participation in Team KATUSHA ALPECIN

The winner, the Super Stagiaire, has the opportunity to participate in a variety of races for KATUSHA ALPECIN, including for example the Arctic Race of Norway, the Tour of Germany, the Tour of Britain, the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro, Milan-Turin and Paris-Tours.


Photos: Benedict Campbell; riders => teams & private