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We Go Full Gas

Stories of Commitment: Linda Indergand

When Linda Indergand says her whole life has been leading to this moment, she means it literally. According to her father, Linda’s professional mountain bike career began in Selden, Switzerland the moment she stepped onto her first podium. She was six years old and she has been laser-focused on racing ever since.

Over the past 22 years, Linda has had her fair share of ups and downs–as any athlete who has had such an enduring career would. As a young cyclist growing up in Switzerland, she had the opportunity to pursue and achieve success across disciplines. Early in her career, Linda earned multiple Swiss National Championship titles, won junior XC and elite XC eliminator World Championships, and scored several international podiums. In 2016, at just 22 years old, Linda broke onto the scene with a second-place finish in her first elite World Cup in Cairns, Australia. The result set her on a path to represent Switzerland in the Rio Olympics later that year, where she finished 8th among the best XC MTB athletes in the world.

After another XC eliminator World Championship title and finishing fifth overall in the 2017 World Cup season, Linda’s results were a bit more modest. A tenth-place finish at the 2019 World Championship race sparked hope for a return to the top, which was swiftly swept away when the COVID-19 pandemic canceled nearly all of the race season in 2020.

But Linda’s passion for mountain biking doesn’t hinge on results–her roots run deeper than that. Her commitment to the sport isn’t fueled by podiums, but by the feeling of moving in nature. She’s motivated by the support of her family and community. And that motivation and dedication to her craft didn’t stop when the races did in 2020; in fact, it grew stronger.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say. When the 2021 World Cup season began in Albstadt, Linda Indergand sprinted away from the world’s top-ranked women on what was nearly a solo victory. With that second-place finish, it was obvious that a fire was lit and it continues to burn as Linda prepares to compete–once again– on the world’s biggest stage.

Linda Indergand solo World Cup

In between World Cup racing and training, we chatted with Linda to get to know her a little better: 

Liv: What was your childhood like and how did that lead you to a career as an XC MTB athlete?

Linda: Ever since I can remember, cycling has been a part of my life. Even as a little girl, I would go on bike rides with my family. When I got older, I already wanted to race. I competed in my first race at the age of six. The racing fever took hold of me completely and never let go. My brother Reto has always been my biggest role model and I always wanted to do everything he did. Our parents always supported us, but never pushed us to do anything. Without them we would not be professional athletes now. 

Linda Indergand growing up

Liv: Who were your sports heroes when you were young? And now? 

Linda: As a little girl, Sonja Traxel was my idol. She was also a mountain biker (junior world champion) and in the same club as me. Now I look up to Roger Federer because despite his worldwide fame he stayed down to earth and has been at the top for a long time. Felix Neureuter (former German ski racer) is also very likeable and impresses me a lot.

Liv: What is your role in the Swiss Armed Forces? 

Linda: After recruit school, I received the unique offer to be employed by the Swiss Army as a temporary soldier in top sports. In addition to financial security, I can also benefit from the infrastructure in Magglingen and Tenero (national sports centers) and receive medical care in the event of an injury. We have many training camps from the national team which also count as continuing refresher courses for the army. 

Liv: What are some challenges you’ve faced to get to the point you’re at in your cycling career?

Linda: A special challenge after school was certainly the change to professional apprenticeship. Finding time for training in addition to work and school was not always easy, but I could rely on the support of my whole family. Another challenge is dealing with nutrition and social media. These tasks are also part of a top athlete and so it is definitely a full time job. I enjoy the time very much and I am aware that not every athlete has the privilege to count on such a good and strong environment as I do.

Liv: What dreams have you already accomplished through mountain biking? 

Linda: It had always been my dream to compete in the Olympics, then when I finished second in the World Cup in Australia in 2016, I realized I was on a very good path to do so. I will never forget the phone call from Swiss Cycling telling me that I could travel to Rio. A dream became reality.

Linda World Cup lead

Liv: So far in 2021, you’ve had some of your biggest successes in recent years. To what do you attribute this success to?

Linda: Thanks to the team change to Liv, I had another big boost of motivation. Over the winter I also did more cross-country training with integrated interval training and worked very hard on athletics as well as in the mental area. Thanks to Oscar Saiz who helps me with the line selection at the races and also in the technical training, I also have had the fastest/best lines. The professional support of the team can be felt in all areas (organization, physiotherapist, mechanic, etc.) and helps to get the last percentages for a top performance.

Liv: What does cycling mean to you? What would you miss the most if you had to stop mountain biking tomorrow?

Linda: For me, cycling means moving in nature and being free. I love to explore new places but also to get faster and faster on old known paths. The thing I would miss the most is the wind.

Linda finish
Linda hug