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5th Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - 2.3

Australia, January 21-26, 2003

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News for January 25, 2003

Jörg Ludewig - Poetry in motion

By Nisa Schebella in Adelaide

Red bullet
Photo: © joerg-ludewig.com
Click for larger image

It is not unfair to say that some of the attractions of pro-racing are the riders themselves. The stylish flair of the peloton is certainly a bonus to the spectator's eye, especially for flocks of female fans. The brilliant flash of coloured lycra seemingly sprayed onto perfectly chiselled and usually tanned torsos, often accessoried with bleach art hair and sexy sunnies, speaks volumes to the style conscious. The whole ensemble perched upon a matching shiny machine is a combo nothing short of poetry in motion. Try and compare a cycling team to a rugby team. Sorry, it just doesn't work.

One of the glamour boys of the bunch here in Adelaide for the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under is the only German rider from the Italian Team Saeco, Jörg Ludewig. At 27, Jörg has been riding as a professional since 1997. Starting as a neo-pro with German outfit Bayer Worringen and then moving to Gerolsteiner, he clocked up victories in Course de la Solidarité Olympique and the Tour de l'Avenir. In 2000 he joined Saeco and has produced a couple more stage wins in the Bayern Rundfahrt.

Lucky to keep his contract with Saeco after a nasty crash in 2000 (which saw him off the bike for half the season), Jörg is enjoying his third year in Italy. The crash not only put a stop to his racing for the year, but also to his other profession of modeling.

Calvin Klein days
Photo: © joerg-ludewig.com
Click for larger image

"I started modeling on the cat walk to earn some extra money," said Jörg on the morning of the fifth stage. "We did some dancing and had some boy-bands backing us, it was fun. That was when I was racing amateur, and when I became pro I left it to the side, only did it in the winter off season. It was just showing casual leisure and sports wear but it was nice. I enjoyed it a lot, travelling around with the guys, nice music, nice clothes. We had a lot of fun."

Then disaster struck. A crash in a kermesse in Germany literally made its mark on Jörg's modeling career, and he still bears a large scar and swelling on his forehead.

"When I had my bad accident, I was in the front of a race in Germany doing 55 km/h," he recalled. "At the back there was Zabel and guys like that. It would have been awesome to win that race, I was pushing very hard and looking down. A spectator jumped onto the street at that second when I passed him and then PHAM! over the bars and onto my face. It was two centimetres from death, my helmet was broken in three pieces and when you go down with a heart rate of 200 the blood comes very fast, especially from the head."

"That was two and a half years ago. I saw an amateur video, half the street was full of blood, just like my Saeco jersey (laughing). It was the worst accident I ever had. Half my season was done, but I was lucky that I could continue with Saeco".

This is Jörg's third outing to Australia with Saeco, and he says he loves it. Saeco have been unlucky not to take the overall race win the past two years, and hope this year it will be case of third time lucky. Unfortunately, after today's result it looks like that is not going to be the case.

"Its awesome riding here, the competition is great, I love the crowds and the friendly people, the race is well organised and it is just awesome to be here. I love Australia so much and love to be here. The only thing that I find hard is that I always get a sore throat with the air conditioning in the hotel and the 40 degree heat outside, that has been my main problem, but I have been here many times now and am getting used to it."

"We are very content as a team. We have done well so far and have the Yellow Jersey. Fabio is in awesome form, strong, much more so than last year. His legs were strong but his mind was not as prepared as this year. His mentality has changed and his character and the whole team love to work for him."

Seems to be a lot of love going around here, but one thing Jörg doesn't love is climbing.

"At 77 kilos the hills get to me, whether they're steep or long it's hard, and takes it out of me. I'm a guy for the flat stages so I like it that we only had to climb Menglers once this year. Checker Hill is also something I don't like. I didn't do so well on Wednesday and couldn't stay in the front, but I always do my best, like last year, to push as hard as I can to hold the Yellow Jersey for Fabio. He is very hungry this year and keen to hold the Yellow Jersey as long as he can."

After the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under Jörg will move base to Italy to start his program in Europe. No Tour de Langkawi for Saeco again this year. The team is foregoing the points and big cash for the riders' welfare. Some of the riders picked up a bug that was difficult to shake in 2001, Jörg was ill for more than a month. From there it's a season chock a block full of the big races. The Tour of Mediterranean, Riviera Ligure, Paris Nice, Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem, Paris-Roubaix, Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France with some other races scattered between.

"I go to Italy now because the weather is minus 2, minus 3 degrees at home. It always rains until the end of March. I live halfway between Hamburg and Cologne in the north. It's a nice place but with this kind of weather it's impossible to train. You're having a 5 hour training day and it's minus zero degrees, it's crazy. You have to spend half an hour getting dressed and undressed."

Europe's extreme rains last year caused a lot of damage to Germany but thankfully Jörg's town was not affected. He is philosophical about the tragedy and generously extended his support to the victims of the floods.

"The floods have been terrible although I have not been affected - but I offered all my old cycling jerseys to those cyclists who lost nearly everything. We had a big auction to raise money for the victims of the floods. All of Germany rallied together to help, it was awesome. Sometimes bad things have a good side as well. My mum suffered from cancer last year but with that my parents got close to each other like I've never seen before. Sometimes shit happens but afterwards there's a big positive point to it".

Getting to know Jörg Ludewig is a pleasure. He is one of those guys who is gorgeous on the inside as much as he is on the outside.

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