After a break of eight years, handicap cyclist Wolfgang Sacher wants to know again.
He is training for the Paralympics in 2024.
Wolfratshausen / Penzberg - "They never come back", the iron law of heavyweight boxing, was the first to break through Floyd Patterson. He won back the lost world title in 1960 against Sweden's Ingemar Johansson. The American was followed by others. Muhammad Ali in 1974 after the end of his suspension in the legendary "Rumble in the Jungle" against George Foreman. Or the latter after a ten year break from boxing when he knocked out world champion Michael Moorer at the age of 45. A heavyweight in paracycling now wants to know again: Wolfgang Sacher has decided to resign. His goal is the Paralympics in Paris in 2024. Perhaps the circle would come full circle there.
In 2008, at the Games in Beijing, Sacher had cleared the entire set of medals - gold, silver and bronze.
After London 2012, when things weren't going so well, he ended his career at the age of 45.
“At that time it was enough for me after eight intensive years, a collarbone fracture and three cross breaks,” he says today.
He kept in contact with cycling as the head of the RSC Wolfratshausen club.
High point of his career: At the Paralympics 2008 in Beijing, Wolfgang Sacher won a complete set of medals.
© Imago Images
Then September 2020 moved into the country, the Bavarian championship was on - and Michael Teuber teased. As a long-time companion, Tegernsee, who has meanwhile moved up to become a national coach, knows how to arouse the ambition of his old friend. "Michi talked to me for so long that I couldn't help myself," says Sacher. So after an eight-year break and with ten kilos more on his ribs, the Penzberger got on his racing bike. And that wasn't even his own: Sacher had sold all of his material after the end of his career. He borrowed the time trial machine from RSC colleague Horst Schwanke, a cycling marathon specialist, hardly changed the set-up, just screwed his own saddle onto it. "Impromptu and without training", Sacher raced to the finish line second behind Teuber - and sniffed,"The last five kilometers with a wobbling saddle", even the current road world champion: "I burned Steffen Warias for 30 seconds." Then it was clear to him: "I'll tackle it again."
The 54-year-old has been training regularly since the beginning of the year, doing around twelve hours a week - either on the ergometer in the basement or outside, weather permitting. “I have just put on my cycling shorts and wanted to pedal for two hours. You're lucky that you caught me, ”says the ex-world champion happily on the phone. He has almost regained his Beijing fighting weight with 73 kilograms distributed over 1.91 meters.
The fact that Sacher was reclassified with its limitations made the comeback easier. In Beijing he drove and won in the strongest class C5 against competitors “who had almost no handicap such as a stiff ankle. Compared to them, I was severely disabled. ”After a high voltage accident in his youth, the 54-year-old is missing his left arm and all toes of his right foot. The toes of the left are stiff. Two years ago he tore his biceps tendon "because I thought I had to screw a 120 kilo bumper onto a jeep on my own". All of these injuries are now taken into account following a reorganization of the handicap classes by the International Cycling Federation UCI. The Penzberger slipped into the C3, there meets similarly restricted opponents.
Anyone who knows Sacher's ambition knows that he does not want to travel to Paris as a cyclist, but rather to compete for medals in the road time trial and on the 3000 meters on the track. He sees opportunities for this, although at 57 he would probably be the oldest cyclist there. “There will be a couple of people in their mid-forties, but I'm sure the exception.” Another very fit exception: he has just returned from a team course under coach Teuber from Mallorca. There he cycled alongside Ludwig Stadler from Rosenheim on the Puig Major, the highest mountain on the Balearic island at 1,445 meters. Remarkable: At 19, Stadler is 35 years younger than his training partner, but the computers on both of them showed “300 watts on average”. Sacher had already completed an extensive performance test before the Mallorca trip.How did it turn out? “Sauguad,” says Sacher and laughs. "Apparently the body just remembers that after many years of competitive sport."
Further planning depends on what is possible due to the corona pandemic.
If possible, Sacher wants to drive a World Cup in September.
He would like to tackle the Transalp in June with his specialist Erich Winkler, he lacks an arm and a foot.
“This is strength training on the mountain, great preparation.” During his first career, he had already taken the 9,000 meters of altitude covered within a week under his wheels seven times.
The race across the Alps would also be a comeback for Wolfgang Sacher.
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