Interview with Jan Christen

15. January 2024

Jan Christen made his international breakthrough at the 2022 Cyclo-cross World Championships in Arkansas where he was crowned Junior World Champion. He then went on to win the European Junior Road Championship, the runner-up world title on mountain bike and four Swiss championship titles (cyclo-cross, track, time trial and mountain bike) in the same year. This year, the 20-year-old is racing professionally for UAE Team Emirates alongside Tadej Pogacar.

You're riding for the team of the current world number 1, Tadej Pogacar. What are you able to benefit from most?

It's a great opportunity to be part of this amazing team and benefit from the strengths and personality traits of many top athletes. I'm trying to learn things from them that will help me in my athletic and personal development.

In recent years, young cyclists are making the transition from junior to professional categories far more quickly. What is the reason for this?

This could have also been the case for younger riders in the past but the teams weren’t prepared to support them. Although a good rider might have been taken on by a team, they were considered ‘just’ a neo-professional to begin with. The team had its leaders and you rode for them. People had this preconception that you could only become a good professional cyclist after several years.
The structure within the teams has also changed. More faith is put in young riders being able to achieve good results and they are supported throughout their journey. 

In your view, what are the most important factors for success?

  • The privilege of being able to dedicate myself to cycling is what motivates me to keep improving and I’m grateful for this opportunity.
  • The willingness to take small steps to achieve major goals and have fun while doing it.
  • Enjoyment and satisfaction in what you're doing. 

What are your 3 top tips for amateur cyclists to help get the cycling season off to a successful start in spring?

  1. Take it easy and start out at a low intensity. 
  2. Play around with the cadence and don't always pedal at the same rate.
  3. Enjoy the fact that you're getting out and about in nature and doing something good for yourself and your health. 

Do you have an insider tip with regards to training, equipment, nutrition and recovery?

Luckily, there aren’t any insider tips that are absolutely essential.
After resolving any personal conflicts within yourself such as what do I want, where do I want to go, what do I want to be, it’s time for the most important thing: putting it into action. You can only achieve your goal by doing.

Photo: ZVG