Olympic gold, seven world championship titles on the road and on the track, plus countless championship titles - alongside Kristina Vogel and Judith Arndt, Lisa Brennauer is one of the most successful cyclists in Germany. It's almost over - at the peak of her amazing career.
Lisa Brennauer still remembers the key moment in the summer of 2018 in Glasgow. Her road bike career had faltered a bit, the 2016 Rio Olympics were all but forgettable and her return to the track hasn't gone as well as she'd hoped. "If I take Kristina Vogel: I remember all the pictures of how she drove around the track cheering. I just never won anything," says the Allgäu native in an interview with the German Press Agency.
But in Glasgow the knot burst, victory at the European Championships in the individual pursuit, her first success on the wooden oval. She then immediately contacted Vogel, who had had her bad accident a few weeks earlier, and told her: "I also wanted to drive around the track as jubilantly as you do."
Since then, Brennauer has actually only been jubilantly driving around the track - with the super year 2021 as the highlight: Olympic gold in the women's foursome, plus the World Cup and European Championship titles in the individual and team pursuits. On the road there was also world championship gold in mixed. In terms of success, she has long been on a par with the best German cyclists such as Vogel and Judith Arndt. "These are people I looked up to," says Brennauer. "When you're put on the same level as people like that, that makes you proud."
So what's next? Brennauer thought for a long time and had many discussions - with the result that the "right time" for the end of her sporting career had come. "I've always been told: At the end of your career you feel when it's the right moment. I never understood it that way, but now I understand it," reports the 34-year-old, who is happy that she "chooses the time herself could and was not forced to do so".
In the track four they will miss Brennauer, "the mother", as teammate Franziska Brauße says and Lisa Klein adds: "If she was at the start, then you knew it was going. What she did for German cycling is unrivaled. That It's a shame she's leaving. But our mutual successes will bind us together forever." A joint appearance remains, however, at the upcoming European Championships in Munich.
You take everything with you there, says Brennauer. She will also start on the road. The 2014 time trial world champion just proved that she's really fast on the asphalt when she got the champion's jersey. And she also has the necessary basis in her legs with over 1000 kilometers in the recently revived Tour de France. That was "really cool," says Brennauer, enthusing about the roadside atmosphere in France.
That was "a boost" that women's cycling needed," said the woman from the Allgäu. According to Brennauer, her sport is far from where it could be, even if the "exotic existence" has been discarded. "There are also surveys that not everyone can make a living from the sport. There are still ways to go."
Brennauer does not have to worry financially. Since last year she has been a professional soldier in the German Armed Forces - the rank of sergeant major. She wants to stay connected to the sport there. "I hope that I will have the opportunity to pass on a lot of my knowledge and experience," says Brennauer. A role as a trainer is also conceivable.