Emma Johansson (Sweden, Team Hitec Products UCK)
After winning the bronze medal at the World Championship last year. Emma Johansson is one of the big favorites for the Worlds in Copenhagen this year. The silver medal winner at the Olympic Games in 2008 already has 5 victories this season. After riding several years for Dutch and Belgium teams, Emma joined this year the Norwegian team Hitec Products – UCK.
CYCLINGTIME.com: You just finished Tour of Chongming Island and finished 4th in the GC. How did you feel about the final result ?
Emma Johansson: I got food poisoning the night before the last stage. I didn’t sleep and stayed at the toilet the whole night. I got some bonus seconds during the stage but ended on the same time as 3rd. Maybe I just should be happy to finish the race, but it was not fun to miss the podium.
CT: The Tour of Chongming was held in China, how do you feel about racing in Asia ?
EJ: Racing in China is ok. The organization was good. I think cycling has to accept that it ihasto grow as a world sport and therefore we have to race in different places around the world.
CT: What kind of races suit you better – stage race or one day?
EJ: I’m probably a better one day rider, but I seldom have really bad days. What I have missed out on during the last years is a team who can protect an overall jersey in a race. That’s team work and something I can’t do by myself.
CT: In 2008 you gained the silver medal at the Olympics. Can you tell us about that day ?
EJ: It was a rainy day, something I don’t have problems with. I had done some good results the weeks before and felt safe with what I had to do. The whole day was crazy! The actual race was the easiest thing. I was not known in Sweden at all before then and the Swedish media was all over me after that medal.
CT: In 2011 you joined Hitec Products – UCK, why did you decide to race for a Scandinavian team ?
EJ: I like to have a free role in a team and it was an opportunity to be in a Scandinavian environment. I can also work together with my husband who is the sport director of the team, so everything just felt right.
CT: You are Swedish Champion, how special is it to wear that jersey ?
EJ: It is something that I’m proud of and it is fun to have that shirt. It took a long time before I got it and I would like to wear it another year.
CT: At the beginning of your career you attended the Cycling School in Skara for 4 years, can you tell us more about that time ?
EJ: I left home north in Sweden when I was 16 to live by myself and attend the cycling school. I didn’t know what to expect and that is a time of your life where so much happens. I think it worked out well for me. I learned to take care of myself and live alone, it made me grow up. I started school as a MTB rider but had to do more and more training on the road. At first I found that stupid as I didn’t like the road bike and thought it was boring. The last years at school I did some road races and my plans changed.
CT: Who is the toughest competitor you’ve faced so far ?
EJ: Marianne Vos, no doubt about it.
CT: What is the worst day you’ve had on a bike ?
EJ: The 2nd stage in “Thuringen” last year. I had the leader’s jersey after the first day but got sick during the night. Throwing up and feeling terrible it was a day to forget. I had to stop after 50k, with fever and no energy at all. I slept for 2 days after that!
CT: Recently you married Martin Vestby, he was a cyclist too - how did you combine your life together because you both were traveling a lot?
EJ: We moved in together in Belgium and between all the traveling and races we had some time together. Belgium is the central place for cyclists and we bout raced for teams near by, I was with “Vlaanderen” and Martin with a Dutch team. It worked out well.
CT: Cyclists living in Sweden, how do they train during the winter with the snow ?
EJ: They do a lot of MTB training on the snowing roads and cross country skiing. For me it makes the winter break clearer and gives me the mental break I need too….
CT: You’re a music fan, what’s on your MP3 player right now ?
EJ: Mostly a lot of old stuff my brother gave me. I listen mostly to the radio and I like almost anything….
CT: If you weren’t a cyclist you would be a....?
EJ: Maybe a cross country skier, but for sure I would do some kind of sport.
CT: What’s your favorite ride and why ?
EJ: The long distance trainings I can do home in Norway with quiet roads with almost no traffic, nice nature and good friends as company. I also enjoy the winter training I do with the MTB, they are as new adventures every time as we look for new routes and places all the time.
CT: Finally, the one race you would love to win in your career is:
EJ: The next one! But Ronde van Vlaanderen and the World Championship are nice races to have on the list.
CT: Good luck for the following races and many thanks Emma !
To see more about Emma, please go here.