Mathias Hecht will be starting in new colors in 2012. The very friendly and fast Swiss Pro had been on Team Commerzbank until it ended in 2011, and will now be racing for Team TBB moving forward. Slowtwitch had a few words with the man known as Pikey.
ST: Gruezi Mathias, we are glad you are with us.
Mathias: Thank you, always a pleasure!
ST: With the New Year came a new team and we are indeed happy for you. How long has that been in the works?
Mathias: I’ve been looking for new sponsors since July. I had a few good offers on the table and I have to admit, the one or other decision I had to make was not easy for me. Over the years you build up kind of a relationship with sponsors and you get to know the people very well. But at the end, I have to make a living out of my sport. Which is not always easy. And Brett (Sutton) and myself already had a few good conversations last year and thanks to him I already made a few smart changes, which lead to my first Ironman against strong competition in Utah. Now I get the chance to work closer with a legend in our sport. Which is very exciting.
ST: Does that mean you will be coached by Brett Sutton?
ST: Word has it that Caroline Steffen was instrumental in getting this going.
Mathias: Mostly it was Nicola Spirig and Reto Hug who influenced me on this decision. And for sure the talks I had with Brett and Alex. Being with Caroline in the same team is great. I get along very well with her and her boyfriend Dave Dellow, who is also on the team and a great training partner for sure. I think its great that with the two of us we have some Swiss power in Team TBB now.
ST: There is often the assumption that ITU Pros and long course athletes run in separate circles. That doesn't seem to be the case for you.
Mathias: I have an ITU background and I have been racing World Cups for 4 years. So, I still have a lot of friends in that circle. Also, I follow ITU racing very closely. I have a lot of respect for those guys. It is like a different sport to Ironman, but it is still triathlon and I love to watch at what speed they go, it is super exciting to watch. Also, my former coach Greg Bennett and his wife Laura belong to my best friends. And for sure I follow all the Swiss ITU athletes very closely too.
ST: Had you considered striking out on your own and collecting all individual sponsors?
Mathias: Yes. Like I said. This option was there. And I had good offers from companies I already worked with in the past years and also two new ones. But with Team TBB I can have the whole package. It’s the longest existing team in our sport. With Cervelo, 2XU, 3T and Campagnolo they have great partners and I can count on World Class equipment. But most important, I can finally work with Brett and I have a great bunch of athletes to train with. I like the philosophy of the team. There is nothing comparing to that out there.
ST: Why could you not work with him before?
Mathias: I was racing for Team Commerzbank and Brett is Team TBB. It would have been a conflict for both of us.
ST: Will we see you possibly at the Cervelo launch in the Canary Islands in about 10 days?
Mathias: I think Caroline will be there to represent Team TBB.
ST: Do you know TBB athletes other than Caroline?
Mathias: I think I know all of them. Triathlon is a small world and Team TBB athletes are racing a lot. So the chance that you see and meet them at the races is quite high.
ST: Any word on which Cervelo you will be riding in 2012? And does it end with a 5?
Mathias: I will indeed be riding one of the first P5’s in the world in Q1 2012 and I am looking forward to do so. I have heard from teamTBB management Cervelo is using teamTBB in their global P5 launch.
ST: Have you ever swung your leg over any of their bikes?
Mathias: It will be a first for me. But I know that Cancellara still says, that Cervelo was the best bike he has ever been riding. So, I think I will be fine haha.
ST: Do you ride with Fabian every now and then when he is back in Switzerland?
Mathias: I haven’t met him yet.
ST: Well, then how do you know what he says?
Mathias: Haha, yes he said that in an interview once. Which was not very smart when you are riding for another bike brand.
ST: Are there any other Swiss road pros who you might train with?
ST: I know Mathias Frank from Team BMC. He is from around here. Also Michael Schär (BMC Team) lives only about 10km away. But I have never been riding with them.
ST: Is that mostly because of timing, or otherwise not possible or desired?
Mathias: Just did not happen yet. Maybe this is the goal for this year. I think it would be fun with Mathias Frank. He is an amazing climber, still a young athlete, but already finished 6th in the Tour de Suisse, which is not a small tour. I think he will be the next Swiss guy who can go for tour wins.
ST: As far as you know, are the other Commerzbank Pros in good new hands?
Mathias: I think most of them are. I mean, Marino wont have trouble to find sponsors. He is a 7h45min guy. Quite a good argument I guess. I know he is in very good hands. Maiki will be fine for sure. Who doesn’t want to have the GCM on a team.
ST: Where will your 2012 season start?
Mathias: Hopefully in Melbourne at Ironman Melbourne. But at the moment I am resting. I injured my knee going up a very steep climb, actually the driveway of my home stay in Hawaii. It was the week before the race. Doctors told me it is just an inflammation. So I kept training on it and even went to Cozumel for the Ironman where I was still in pain and couldn’t keep running after 15km. After that they finally sent me for an MRI scan, and they found out that there is a fissure in my patella. It is very upsetting, as this could have been solved right after Hawaii. My start there and in Cozumel were a complete waste of time, which def didn’t help the healing process. But you know, I get a good rest now and maybe this is not bad for a great race in Hawaii. I don’t worry about qualifying really. Once I am in one piece, I will get the points in time.
ST: Anything else we should know?
Mathias: A big thank you to Normann Stadler who started the Dresdner Kleinwort Triathlon Team in 2007. Thanks a lot for bringing me on the team. Also I want to thank Commerzbank, all the team sponsors and MMH (the team management).
ST: Do you work with Normann in his new role as a manager?
Mathias: No, but who knows, we will keep in contact for sure.
ST: Thanks Mathias.
Mathias: I thank you!