At world Championship in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Tobias Vetter was a newcomer. No one had man on note, who had bought his first racing bike ten months earlier. 84.5 kilometers drove cousin in main group, got with how drivers were ripped off before him, but not wher y were caught up again. No bike that showed distance to leaders, not a coach who whispered tactics to riders in ear by radio. Cousin, 35, focused on himself, wanted to finish his race as best as possible. 500 meters before finish he moved on.
No one in field had reckoned with such an early attack, certainly not from him. Cousin was no longer catching up. When he crossed finish line, he didn't tear his arms up, but just rolled on. When he slowed down, his team came running on him, people hugged him, German flag put him around his shoulders. "I stood re petrified and asked what I had become," recalls cousin. The answer: "Well, you're world champion!""Paracycling is best thing that could happen to me. You win self-confidence. "
Vetter talks about events in early September as if he still had not realized what happened, that he is actually world champion in Paracycling, in road race of cyclist with handicap. "I thought this couldn't be true. There you are at World Cup in South Africa, must be directly to award ceremony and are totally overwhelmed. "
Cousin, an athletic man with raspelkurzem hair and friendly look, was born in Gera, his family was sport enthusiastic, his far athlete, his bror and he played football. Even n, Vetter was known for his perseverance. "I've always run up and down square," he says. At age of 17, he had a motorcycle accident. When he woke up in hospital, his left hand and left foot were connected. It was clear to him that he would never be able to use m again as before. "When you wake up re, you think your life is over," says Cousin. Years later, Handicapped Sports Association will assign its handicap to category C4-Or physical restrictions on lower extremities.
The last meters to world title: Tobias Vetter (R.) in final spurt of Pietermaritzburg.(Photo: Oliver Kremer/sports. Pixolli. com)
For months he was in hospital, more than a year he was dependent on crutches. Since his accident he has not been able to run any running sports. Swimming, cycling, fitness, those were options that his doctor recommended. Cousin chose gym. "I've always been a fighter. There was nothing to sit around for me, I had to fight against it. "
For ten years he made fitness, until sometime he bought a mountain bike to be in nature. 2012 he moved for his girlfriend from Gera to Heimstetten. There, friends of him organized mountain bike marathon races. At some point he accompanied her and drove, soon once a month, n more often. Vetter noted that he had talent that he could keep up with "healthy" as he says, came regularly to top ten. At races he wore a long trousers, because he did not want to be reduced to his handicap.
Last year he began to be interested in Paracycling. So he bought a road bike, trained winter on roll and started in April in his first race. "I thought I'd just try it out-- attitude and technology are completely different compared to mountain bike," says Vetter. He was eighth in single-timedrive, with a road bike. "For cost reasons, unlike most participants, I do everything with just one wheel: road racing, time trial, training." Since handicapped sport is hardly represented in media, it is difficult to find sponsors. "As a handicap athlete, you have to fight much more for recognition," Vetter explains. Travel expenses to competitions such as World Cup, it must bear most of itself, material costs anyway.
With his only bike he started in May for Handicapped Sports Club Munich at Bavarian Championships-and became second. In June he reached something he would never have dreamed of: Vetter became German champion in street race. "That's what you think, that's insane, overwhelming." In July he became a fifth World Cup, followed by appointment to national team. He was second at European Cup in Elzach. Then came world title. "Paracycling is best thing that could happen to me," says Vetter, who celebrates his 36 birthday this Sunday. In not even a year he reached more than ors throughout her career. "You win a lot of self-confidence."
"That's what you think, that's insane, overwhelming." – Tobias Vetter with gold medal in world champion's jersey.(Photo: Oliver Kremer/Sports.pixolli.com)
But cousin still has great plans. 2017 he comes to about 8000 training kilometers-most of m near Glonn (Kreis Ebersberg), where he has lived for several years. His competition looses three times, he says. But besides his work with city and his family, re is no more time. "I'd like to do a few more kilometers, but I work full time," says Vetter. "I usually train after a day of work or on weekends." His big goal is Paralympics 2020 in Tokyo, but next year he wants to defend his World Cup and DM titles. A victory, so cousin, will be more difficult than this year: "I was a newcomer, no one knows you, no one cares about you. Next year, in World Cup jersey, this will be different. " But even if it warns competition and is a disadvantage in race, cousin says, "I wear this jersey with pride."
Last weekend, at last Eurocup race of year in Prague, he was allowed to wear white dress with rainbow strips for first time officially. It didn't hurt. Vetter became first-in road racing and in time trial.