24-year-old Marko Kump is just one of several exciting new names at Team Saxo-Tinkoff in 2013 and the obvious talent already has a few big victories on his resume which includes a victory in the U23 edition of the Tour of Flanders. To get to know him a little better, he has agreed to answer a few questions:
Where are you from?
“I’m from Slovenia and my home town is Novo Mesto which is a small town that has produced a few well-known names in cycling such as Janez Brajkovic and Simon Spilak. Training in the Alps is just one hour away and I have one hour’s drive to the coast so it’s perfect for me and I’m still living there with my girlfriend.”
How did you get in to cycling?
“I was probably about 10 years old when I was introduced to the sport by my cousin who was already doing competitions at the time and he thought that this was the sport for me. And he was right. I liked the sport from the very beginning and since then it was always a dream for me to turn professional.”
Which result are you most proud of?
“I’m proud of all my results but the victory that has meant the most to me is definitely the victory in the U23 edition of the Ronde van Vlaandern in 2010. It was basically a great season for me and this race was really hard. I’d launched a breakaway going in to the last 50 kilometers of the race and on the last 3 kilometers I went solo while John Degenkolb was chasing me. But fell right into place that day and they didn’t see me again before the podium ceremony.”
Why did you choose Team Saxo-Tinkoff?
“Several teams offered me a contract and the team’s offer was the first of all. But if there had been 15 other teams offering me a contract, I had still chosen the Danish team. Ever since the old CSC times, I have been following the team as a fan and I watched the video “Overcoming” a 100 times and have always been impressed by the way things are run at the team. Now, I finally got the opportunity to be part of it and to become a part of the team spirit that everyone is talking greatly about.”
What do you do when you’re not on the bike?
“During the season I try to spend as much time as possible with my family and with my girlfriend. I’m hardly home during the season and as I am a family man, I prioritize time with them first. In the off-season I spend time doing different kinds of sports, I’m spending time with my friends and of course my family. As a matter of fact, I will be a father in May next year, which of course I’m really excited about.”
Do you have any special rituals before you sit on the bike and running races?
“I have no special rituals before getting in the saddle. But I need to focus and concentrate, and I do that by listening to music. So I’m sitting on the bus wearing ear plugs before the gun goes off at the start line. As long as the music has a high pulse rate that matches the next few hours on the road, I’m happy.”
What is your favorite food?
“I love Mexican and really spicy food in general. During the season it is not the best thing to eat so I’m pacing myself and saving it for special occasions but I love to go out and eat with the family in the off-season and get a glass of red wine without feeling guilty.”
What are your ambitions for 2013?
“Most importantly for me, I want to be a good teammate. I will focus on doing what the sports directors ask me to do. In the long run I would like to participate in the Ronde van Vlaandern and the Tour de France but Flanders is at the very top of the wish list. The race is something very special. Both because of my U23 win but also because of the special charisma surrounding that race.”