Sixteen years of cycling at the highest level, never as a pro, the story of Bernd Drogan is the same as many athletes from the Eastern bloc before the fall of the Berlin Wall. His main goals were the World Championships and the Olympic Games, events in which he achieved some of the highest honors – winning the Worlds 100km Team Time Trial (Valkenburg 1979 and Prague 1981), then the individual race (Goodwood in 1982, the same year Saronni won), and finally winning an Olympic Silver Medal in the road race at the Moscow Olympics. Today Bernd Drogan is 61 years old (born in 1955) and continues to ride – a passion for him because the bicycle is a philosophy of life. Even better if it’s Colnago!
At what age did you start pedaling seriously?
“Seriously about eleven, after I won my first race I knew I could beat my peers quite easily. It served as a stimulus to engage in training. “
Who are your idols?
“My idols were Gustav Schur, World Champion and winner of the Peace Race. Shortly after that was Rudi Altig, and then Eddy Merckx. “
When did you know you could become a professional cyclist?
“I realized very soon that I had the qualities to excel in the competitive arena. My first goal was to participate in the Peace Race, a myth for us in East Germany. Then I did very well both in the World Championships and at the Olympics. Unfortunately, according to the regulations of the time, I could not join the professionals.”
You’ve been amateur World Champion. What do you remember about that day?
“When I passed the finish line of the Goodwood 1982 World Championship, I was so tired and exhausted that practically do not remember anything. But I’m back to the circuit in 2002, and I rode a few laps of the track. The memories were rekindled like traveling through time. It was magical.”
Do you think you’ve given and achieved the maximum in your cycling career?
“Yes, I think so. Having been born in East Germany I think I have picked up the most I was allowed to do at that time. I just regret to not having ridden amongst the pros.”
At what age and why did you withdraw from racing?
“Unfortunately, I finished my career very early, at age 29 in 1984. I had planned to attend the Olympics in Los Angeles, but was boycotted and that episode ended my high-level sports career.”
Years later you continue to ride. Why do you like cycling so much?
“I’ve always liked to ride, both when I was doing it for “work” and now for fun. Cycling is part of my life, it helps me to feel good and stay healthy.”
What does the Colnago brand mean to you?
“I competed in bike racing on a Colnago from 1978 to 1984, getting my best results. As of 2014 I am back on the saddle of a Colnago bike (M10, author’s note), and it makes me very happy and satisfied. Those who choose this brand love it, it’s a philosophy of life.”