Felix Gall: “I have more freedom now”

Felix Gall: “I have more freedom now”
Felix Gall in the new Decathlon AG2R racing outfit

LIENZ. For Austria’s Athlete of the Year 2023, Felix Gall, the overture to the new cycling season was mixed through no fault of his own. Because of the effects of farmers’ protests, four of the five stages of the Tour of Andalusia were canceled; the bottom line was that the East Tyrolean came 14th in the five-kilometer uphill time trial in Alcaudete. This doesn’t really provide any information as to whether the long preparation was fruitful.

Over the past six weeks, Gall, the queen stage winner of the Tour de France, has worked extensively on the basics with his colleagues from the Decathlon AG2R team, including in the heights of the Sierra Nevada.

The 25-year-old feels basically well prepared for the tasks ahead, and the highlight will naturally be the Tour de France in July.

“The preparation was really good. Everything is fine in terms of values, it was a good winter. I’m in better spirits than I was this time last year”said Gall: “I also felt very good during altitude training. I’m definitely very fit.”

Top stars like last year’s winner Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard didn’t come with their teams to the ProSeries event in Andalusia, which is not part of the World Tour, and they haven’t regretted it. Gall will be competing against several of the really big capazunders for the first time in March as part of the Paris-Nice race. After that, he has planned two more one-week tours before the tour. There are only two one-day races.

At the top of the hierarchy

Due to his success last year with the first professional victory at the Tour de Suisse and the Tour coup including eighth place overall, Gall has reached the top of his team’s hierarchy.

As the sole captain, he also enjoys the necessary say in the respective races, something he has worked hard to achieve. “I have more support and freedom, and we have come up with a great racing calendar. I now know that I am the leader in this and this race, I have to be ready for it and I have full support.”

Gall’s team not only has a new name sponsor in Decathlon, but also new material with the company’s own bikes from Van Rysel. “The transition was problem-free. It’s a great overall package. I feel very comfortable on the bike”said Gall, who has already completed over 4,000 kilometers of training on the new bike this year.

The previous white and brown jersey colors are also a thing of the past, the team now wears blue, white and black clothing.

With the additions of Bruno Armirail and Victor Lafay, the squad should have increased in quality. Gall also feels a breath of fresh air in other areas. “I feel like we have other options and resources. We have also already done something with the tests on the track and in the time trial.”

His teammate Ben O’Connor, who is not scheduled to take part in the Tour de France this year, has already achieved his first win of the season for the racing team. The 28-year-old Australian triumphed at the Tour of Murcia. Without incident.

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