Racing cyclist and TUM student Ricarda BauernfeindOn the summer day in 2023 when she sprinted to a stage win in the Tour de France, Ricarda Bauernfeind was 23 years old and working on her bachelor’s thesis at TUM. Portrait of an exceptional personality.
It’s July 27, 2023 and Ricarda Bauernfeind has just crossed the finish line after conquering the 126-kilometer fifth stage of the Tour de France from Onet-le-Château to Albi - ahead of the entire field. Asked how she feels, she tells a reporter: "At this point, I don’t have the words to describe it. That’s going to take time. But it’s awesome."
A few months later Ricarda Bauernfeind has finished her bachelor’s thesis and is now attending modules in a master’s program. Looking back at the big day, she is modest: "Every cyclist has dreams or goals that they set for their career. For me, it was never a goal to win a stage." She was happy just to qualify for the Tour de France.
Ricarda Bauernfeind is not only a professional athlete. Since October 2019 she has been enrolled in the Nutrition, Home Economics and Sports program at TUM leading to certification to teach at vocational schools. In 2023 the elite cyclist was awarded a sports scholarship by Deutsche Sporthilfe, the foundation that supports athletes in Germany. How does she combine studies and top-level competition?
But she would not have coped with the double workload without solid time management. Summing up, she says: "To get it all done, you have to map out your day in detail." She discusses deadlines with her trainer and puts them in her training diary. "In the three to four days before an exam, I spend less time training and am more focused on studying." She also made a point of enrolling in classroom modules in the winter so that she could work remotely as much as possible in the summer.
The student rides 90 to 140 kilometers - six days a week. That means three to five hours a day on the bike. She either trains indoors or on her favorite route in the Altmühl valley, where she grew up. Ricarda Bauernfeind is away a lot and flies back and forth across Europe. So she’s always glad to come home. "You just have everything here: you can ride on flat ground or through mountains. Of course there are no Alpine passes to train on. But it’s just beautiful."