At the age of 18, MTB’s Marion Fromberger (GER/18) has already notched up an achievement that many people will dream of for their entire sporting life. She has won her first World Cup event – only months after joining a new team of professionals. Her victory in Barcelona automatically places Fromberger top of the International Cycling Union (UCI) rankings.
Even if anyone had dared to predict that Marion Fromberger would already be topping the World Cup Mountain Bike rankings after the opening event in Barcelona, they would still have to admit it was a major surprise. Fromberger, who finishes high school in Passau this year, has gone and shown the mountain biking community that she knows how to make the most of things, especially when it comes to true potential. She only joined the ranks of the professionals four months ago and has already achieved a goal she set herself for the end of her second year. “We were also surprised at how quickly she translated our tips and ideas into action. Marion immediately absorbs everything you show her, she’s clearly focussed on what she’s doing 24 hours a day, and when you add that to huge talent the result takes on some amazing dimensions. We knew Marion had potential but we would never have imagined that she’d fulfil her potential that quickly,” states team captain Kerstin Thum.
After months of intensive training, it was already clear that Fromberger’s hard work was beginning to bear fruit after the time trial. Competing with a huge chain ring on the course through Barcelona, she immediately clocked up the quickest qualification time. When asked about her strategy for the event, Fromberger says, “I was a totally surprised myself. I felt really good about things going over the steps around the Olympic grounds. My team had to calm me down a bit after each race, and they kept having to get me to focus on the essentials and the strengths of my riding technique. It was what paved the way for victory – and I didn’t let the other riders stick a label on me.” This was something she aptly demonstrated over the final 1000 metres, surging to the front after overtaking the Swedish champion Ella Holmegard (SWE/19), subsequently second, and last year’s overall World Cup winner Ingrid Jacobsen (NOR/26). She then continued at such a pace – especially on the more technical stretches – that her pursuers no longer got an opportunity to pedal back. The new World Cup ranking leader was clearly overjoyed as she crossed the finishing line, albeit somewhat taken aback. “I’m not really sure what to make of it yet but I can say I’m happy – really, really happy. I haven’t got a clue what happens now or what comes next. What matters for the moment is what’s just happened, and it’s cool!” stated Fromberger after finishing.
Unfortunately things didn’t go so well for her team mate and reigning German champion Simon Gegenheimer (GER/30). The multiple World Cup winner was already struggling with his bike during time trial. He then switched to a full suspension bike but didn’t feel as comfortable in the saddle as he’d have liked to. Ultimately Gegenheimer finished a sobering 23rd, which he describes as nothing like as good as he’s capable of at the moment: “It was a dismal day for me from start to finish. But actually I’m in good shape and I also know how to put a race like this behind me. Marion landed the big one so it’s a still an excellent win for the team today. We’re number 1 in the women’s World Cup and I’m pretty sure my time will come in 2019,” states Gegenheimer, emphasising team play.