Thorsten Klassen

Name : Thorsten Klassen

Age : 39

Thorsten Klassen is a Teddington-based German joined the club earlier this year and started racing within weeks, racking up an impressive number of placings with his sprinting abilities. The club's very own Erik Zabel - a nice guy who can sprint - he's been a past member of the German national cyclo-cross squad.

What made you start cycling : At the age of 12 watched a local race in my hometown with a friend and we both decided that this would be a cool sport.

Why did you join Kingston Wheelers : Because the Wheelers are a bunch of nice guys! Seriously, coming to the area I checked out Twickenham (to posh) and Dynamo (somewhat weird). The Kingston Wheelers seem (and are) serious about cycling but beside the passion for cycling they have other interests too.

Date you joined the Club : February 2005

What bike do you ride : A Point aluminum frame with carbon fork and Campagnolo Chorus group for road racing; A Gazelle Alu Pro with an old Shimano Dura Ace group for training; A Kona "Jake the Snake" with Shimano Dura Ace, FSA parts and a Kuwahara C-Pacer carbon bike with Shimano Dura Ace components both for cyclo-cross and an old Gitane for track.

Give us a brief cycling background : Brief :Started competitive cycling at age of 12-13; several road, cyclo-cross, track championship titles on district and top-10 spots on state level. One call for the junior national team in cyclo-cross. As senior moved up into highest categories in road and cyclo-cross and again several road, cyclo-cross, track championship title on disrict and top-10 places at state level. Two calls for the senior national team in cyclo-cross. Retired from cyclo-cross racing in 1994 and 1995 from road racing. I started road racing again in 1996 in the USA and after leaving the USA in 1998 made it to second category in Germany again during 1999. From 2000-2004 I rode mostly "sportive" cycling and managed only a few races. Restarted with racing in 2004 again, because the sportive became a bit boring ...

What was your best performance : Road :a 175km breakaway with a couple of other second category riders chased by the elite of German and Dutch race and finally taken ninth place. cyclo-cross :leading a very competitive race in Tetange, Luxembourg, in front of Danny de Bie (at that time word champion pro(, Ondrej Glaza (likewise in the amateurs), Erwin Verwecken and others but unfortunately I crashed at the last hurdle of a running section with only 500 meters to go. Still 10th place, but...

What was your worst day on the bike : Crashing in the North German junior championship race in a lead group of three riders, which were three and a half minutes ahead of the next group, with only 2.5km to the finish. The crash took place in a turn of a longer downhill section when both tyres (tubulars) rolled off. The mechanic from the service car brought only the rear wheel and didn't see that I needed a front one as well, which took quite some time. I finished way back in the main field and retrieving my original wheels I found out that they were stolen from the service car.

Who is your favourite pro or inspiration : Roger de Vlaeminck, because he was good at the classics as well as having been a cyclo-cross world champion; Marco Pantani, the "Pirate", for his impressive accelaration on the mountain stages; no particular sprinter though.

What is your favourite race food : Muesli bars or vanilla smoothy.

Where is your favourite cycling location : I believe, still the area around my hometown, M√ľnster, is very nice :lots a little lanes, all flat, no traffic and some hills within reach. However, County Galway in Ireland was very nice too and Cyprus for really hilly rides in warm weather is brilliant.

Most likely to say : "Great, a mass galop!"

Least likely to say : "Let's do that hill again!"