After two difficult years, Mark Hirschi has reported for 2023. Now he wants to compete for big wins again.
Mark Hershey has been in Tenerife for two and a half weeks. In the training camp on the highlands of Mount Teide, the highest mountain in Spanish territory with a height of 3,715 metres, Alberni is putting the finishing touches on the new season, which begins for him on Saturday in Portugal. “I feel like I did everything I had to do,” Hershey says of his preparations.
After two difficult years, the professional from the UAE Team Emirates returned to the top of the world last year. Hirschi won 7 races, including the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour of Hungary. The 25-year-old's consistency has also been impressive: he has finished in the top 10 28 times, almost half of which have been on the podium.
“The fact that I was able to win two rounds showed that I had taken a step forward,” Hirschi says of last year's results. “What was missing was a great victory.” Hershey's isn't wrong about that. The Sabatini Cup, Giro del Appennino and Proiba Villafranca – all races he won last year – are indisputably prestigious one-day races. As with the two rounds in Luxembourg and Hungary, they do not belong to the top level.
A long dry spell on the World Tour
Hershey's last World Tour success to date was over 3 years ago. Still wearing the DSM jersey, he won a stage of the Tour de France in September 2020 and was victorious in the Flèche Wallonne in the same month. In between, he claimed bronze in the World Championship road race at Imola – all the while putting himself on the radar of the top teams.
After moving to the UAE team, Hershey was unable to build on previous successes. He also had problems with his hip, and finally underwent surgery at the end of 2021. Since then, the Swiss has struggled to come back little by little. With his strong performance last year, he forced himself to be a winning driver for his team once again.
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