Few riders have the ability to drill it on the front like Gabriel Rasch, who arrives at Team Sky for the 2013 season to bolster the team on a number of fronts.
Having come through the ranks alongside compatriot Edvald Boasson Hagen, ‘Gabba’ is known for his impressive work ethic. A strongman with a love for the Classics, Rasch comes into his own in the spring on some of the toughest terrain in the cycling calendar. A former national road champion and two-time Ringerike GP winner in his native Norway, Rasch will be going all out to ensure that his sixth season at the elite level is his best one yet.
Q & A
Who or what inspired you to start cycling?A friend at school started cycling. His father was my neighbour so we started cycling as a group.
First road bike:It was white and pink. After that I had a Nishiki.
First cycling club:Ringerike Sykkelklubb. I'm still a member now.
Childhood heroes:Miguel Indurain and Greg LeMond, and also Wayne Gretsky in ice hockey.
What do you love most about cycling?Now that I'm getting older I actually enjoy it more. I enjoy the training, scenery and the nice rides.
Highlight of your career so far:The most beautiful race for me was Paris-Roubaix in 2011. I had really good legs to be there at the front in the final.
Favourite race:The biggest Classics are the races where I can do the best. That's why I like them the most. Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo are really tough races.
What has cycling taught you?I've learned that I can do more than I thought I could before I started something. If you set your mind on something you can do it.
Previous teams:2008 Credit Agricole; 2009-10 Cervelo TestTeam; 2011 Garmin-Cervelo; 2012 FDJ-BigMat
Main interests away from cycling:I play ice hockey in the winter in the third division in Norway. I also ski and like seeing my friends.
If you weren't a rider, what would you be?My father was a carpenter so maybe I would be doing that.
Favourite film:Lord of the Rings or Star Wars
Favourite band:AC/DC, 2 Pac, Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg
Best friend in the peloton:Thor Hushovd
Most famous person you've ever met:Royal Highness King Harald of Norway
Most embarrassing moment on your bike:My crash at the 2011 Tour of Britain. I was leading out Heinrich Haussler and went too fast in the last corner.
Interesting fact:I became the oldest neo-pro ever in 2008 at 31 years old.
Best advice:Enjoy training and the racing.
National Road Race Championships - 1st
Ringerike GP - 1st; Druivenkoers - 2nd
Rhone-Alpes Isere Tour - 1st overall; winner stage 3
Ringerike GP - 1st