Andrea Eskau eyes Para cycling Worlds

PyeongChang 2018 champion on her successful switch from snow 19 Jun 2018
a female hand-cyclist begins a road race

Andrea Eskau is targeting cycling success at the 2018 Road Worlds

ⒸSaën Sunderland/Black Stag Productions
By Lena Smirnova | For the IPC

“I don't think about what I've already achieved. I always focus on the next big target. The way there, the individual improvements, the new challenges motivate me!”

Andrea Eskau was undoubtedly one of the stars of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games as she sliced through the snow on her sit ski, collecting six Paralympic medals, including two gold, across the cross-country and biathlon events in PyeongChang.

But now that the snow has melted, the 47-year-old has no plans to stop.

Instead, the German veteran has switched her attention to the pavement, returning to her summer sport of Para cycling.

“I started the summer training right after PyeongChang,” Eskau said. “However, my training schedule was not as intensive as in the years before. Due to my success I had a large number of appointments, such as honours or interviews. I also had to rest a little, as the 2018 Paralympics were great but also exhausting.”

The switch from Para Nordic skiing to Para cycling was not a difficult one for Eskau, who makes an effort to keep her summer sport in the back of her mind even when temperatures are below zero.

“I train in winter always on the hand bike and in summer always on roller ski. That's why it's not very difficult for me to change,” she said. “If you are well trained, you can perform very well in both sports at any time.

“Both sports complement each other very well. Winter sports are somewhat more power-intensive, summer sports train endurance more strongly,” she added.

Eskau’s dedication to training year-round paid off as she won a title at the first Para cycling World Cup stop of the season, less than two months after her successful performance in PyeongChang. She is now gearing up for the 2018 Para Cycling Road World Championships, in Maniago, Italy from 2-5 July, and is optimistic about her results there.

“The course should suit me and be good for my abilities,” she said.

Eskau is also aiming to qualify for a career-seventh Paralympic Games at Tokyo 2020 and is developing a new hand bike in cooperation with Toyota to achieve this goal.

She famously trains for cross-country competition with her dogs, although her furry companions tend to stay at the house when the summer season comes.

“Hand bike training is too fast for dogs,” Eskau explained. “That’s why I train with the dogs on the sit ski sled. But I have special cross rollers, with which you can also ride on trails. The soft ground is also healthier for my own body. My dogs love the speed and being outside in nature. They can also sniff around a bit or do some swimming. If they are happy, so am I.”

Despite already being a competitive athlete for almost 20 years, Eskau is still as motivated as ever to continue training and competing.

“I don't think about what I've already achieved,” she said. “I always focus on the next big target. The way there, the individual improvements, the new challenges motivate me!”