Robert Förstemann still has the thickest thighs. The leg circumference was 80 centimeters a few weeks ago in the strength phase, reports the muscle man: "They were larger than before."
The 37-year-old stands out at the Cycling World Championships in Glasgow not only because of his muscle mountains, but also because of the sporting successes with his visually impaired partner Thomas Ulbricht. There was bronze on the tandem in the 1000 meter time trial, and the duo even secured silver in the sprint.
Förstemann: "I've become more of a team player"
Förstemann, once world champion and Olympic bronze medalist in the team sprint for track cycling pros, switched to para sports a few years ago. As a pilot, he navigates his partner through the wooden oval. "It's more fun now than it used to be," says the Thuringian: "I used to drive alone, now you drive with someone. I've become more of a team player."
The change of sides developed him as a person. "Through para-sport, I also look beyond my own nose. You can see that many people have not had it as well in life as we have as competitive athletes. If you can support people and do a little something good with a lot of power in legs, that's a good thing."
Förstemann still has power in his legs - and how! Squats with a weight of more than 250 kilograms on the shoulders - no problem for the family man. The training videos of Quadzilla, as he is aptly nicknamed, can be admired on his Instagram profile. "I've never had as much strength as I do now. We have to accelerate 200 kilos from a standing start and continue for at least 42 seconds. This is competitive sport at its finest," says Förstemann.
Ulbricht can only agree. The former track and field athlete is happy to have Förstemann at his side. "Robert is incredibly strong. With his experience we were also able to prevent a fall," says the visually impaired Ulbricht. Without him he would not have started cycling.
Became famous for the "giant thighs"
Cycling has always been a great passion at Förstemann. He was a member of the German national track cycling team until 2018. In the team sprint he was the starter for a long time, became world champion, European champion and collected national successes. He found real fame at the 2012 London Olympics when his huge thighs even made headlines in the island's yellow press.
The Olympics are still the goal, now the Paralympics in disabled sports. In Paris 2024, the duo wants to win a medal in the 1000 meter distance. "Next year we want to get under a minute. That has to be the goal for Paris," says Ulbricht. They have gradually reduced the gap to the British, in Glasgow it was only seven tenths of a second.
But first you have to qualify. "We got a medal at each of the last two World Championships. Now we have another World Championships in Rio in March. If we get another medal there, we'll definitely be there," explains Förstemann. He will continue to train hard for the big goal. The thighs are his greatest asset.