Reigning UCI World Champion for women’s singles artistic cycling Lisa Hattemer ended her season on something of a positive note when she rode out in front of her home crowd at the Three Nations Cup, contested by Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The event was hosted by the German athlete’s club RSV Gau-Algesheim, near Mainz.
The 25-year-old has failed to make the Germany team for the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships, to be held in Dornbirn, Austria, in a fortnight’s time. In receiving an invitation from the German Cycling Federation to perform an exhibition routine on her home track, however, she was at least able to don her UCI rainbow jersey one last time in front of her fans.
Unlike other cycling disciplines, artistic cycling UCI World Champions do not gain automatic qualification for the next UCI World Championships. Hattemer could only finish fourth in the final German qualifying standings. After discarding the weakest two of her seven routines over the season, the 2016 gold medallist fell just 2.5 points short of securing second place and a ticket to Dornbirn.
She suffered further disappointment at the German Championships, finishing fifth to miss out on a spot in the final four.
“Although I’m obviously still disappointed, I can’t do anything to change the situation so I have to accept it,” Hattemer said in an in-depth interview with the newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung Bingen
She fell at least once in each of her qualifying routines. “Perhaps I was just lacking that last little bit of concentration or grit or something in the end,” she mused. “I’m a fighter who always wants to deliver the perfect programme, but it just hasn’t worked out the way I wanted this year.”
Despite being in the final stages of her degree, Hattemer refuses to use this as an excuse for a season gone awry. “I was studying in previous years too and spending half my time in Mannheim and half in Gau-Algesheim, so I had plenty of travelling to do back then. I’ve been at home while completing my master’s and have been able to organise my time better, so I don’t think it was a significant factor.”
Hattemer instead believes that her rivals have gained ground. “The competition has always been especially fierce in the women’s singles, and it’s really improved in recent years.”
The invitation to ride at the Three Nations Cup was one she initially declined. “It’s a competition for the World Championship team, which I’m not part of, unfortunately,” she explained. “But I changed my mind and decided to do it, as my club was hosting the event and it’s always special to ride in front of a home crowd.”
She believes she ultimately made the right decision: “The club has put in so much hard work and love into this, and I wanted to give something back.”
Hattemer is already doing that by devoting some of her time to youth coaching at her club. “I began working with one athlete before the summer holidays, and for the past couple of weeks there have been three riders,” she said. “It’s great fun, and every bit of progress gives me joy,” she added, expressing her hope of one day training a potential UCI World Champion.
Hattemer intends to follow the 2017 UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships in person. “I’ll try to be there watching in the crowd for all three days,” she said.
She will have her fingers crossed for the German team, not least the six riders from her home state of Rhineland-Palatinate: André and Benedikt Bugner (Klein-Winternheim) in the pairs open and sisters Nadja and Julia Thürmer (Mainz-Finthen) and Lena and Lisa Bringsken (Böhl-Iggelheim) in the women’s pairs.
The Three Nations Cup, which provided a dress rehearsal for the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships, was won by favourites Germany. Compiling 46 points, the hosts finished comfortably ahead of Switzerland on 27 and Austria on 24.