Bernhard is a fast man who won his first bike race at 11 years of age. He came to the team in 2007 with big ambitions and he showed that as well as winning sprints he can switch very quickly from leader to domestique to support other sprinters on the team.
His recent successes include a stage win in Tour de Suisse 2009 and the Paris Bourges and a stage at the Tour of Algarve 2008. His other passion in life - shopping.
Something of an oenophile, Bernie enjoys wines of all colors and countries – providing it isn't thousands of miles from where he’s doing his quaffing. “I always try to drink wines from the place I’m in at the time, or close to there,“ he confirms. “I don’t see the point of sitting in a Paris brasserie and drinking a Chilean red wine.”
Bernie’s impeccable English is spoken with a curious accent which flits between Austrian and Australian inflexions. “People have also said it sounds South African, but I can’t believe that,” he chuckles. “It’s basically the result of hanging around with a lot of Australian guys at La Française des Jeux when I rode for them. I do love going to Australia as well. The people there are great.”
Never far from the action or laughter, on or off the bike, Bernie reckons that “something strange happens in every bike race you do”. “The weirdest thing that ever happened to me was probably at the Tour de France one year, when an American fan grabbed my musette in the feed zone at the foot of the Col de la Madeleine,” he recalls. “I wasn’t even on the side of the road; this guy just jumped out and grabbed the bag from around my neck. One moment I was taking food out of the bag and chatting to another rider, Peter Wrohlich, the next I was dazed on the floor, not knowing what had happened. That was pretty strange…”
A Classics specialist, Bernie rates his victory at last year’s Ghent-Wevelgem and his fifth place in Paris-Roubaix in 2006 among his best results. “But as long as I win at least one race every year, I’m pretty happy.”