If you see Thomas Steger cycling in a triathlon, he would prefer if you looked away when he was riding downhill.
“I descend very badly on the bike and always hope nobody sees me,” joked the 2019 Austrian Triathlete of the Year.
Nevertheless, strangely it is the cycling discipline which he enjoys the most now in training. “You don't have so much impact on the joints, like in running, and it is more exciting than swimming in my opinion,” he said.
As a child, Thomas was a keen runner and after what he described as “some not so sporty teenage years” he took up running again at the age of 19.
“I started cycling as well,” he recalls. “I knew I wanted to become a triathlete then and learned (and am still learning!) swimming.”
Thomas knew he was on the right track when he was crowned European Short-Distance Triathlon Champion in 2014 for the 20-24 age group.
A year later came his senior national breakthrough, when he won the Austrian middle-distance title, and then in 2016 he was third in both the middle-distance event at IRONMAN 70.3 in Mallorca and in the half-distance at the European Championships in Walchsee.
In 2019 Thomas became national middle-distance champion for a second time, which led to that Triathlete of the Year award.
“I hope to win a lot of big races and when I retire, I want to be the most successful Austrian in triathlon,” said the pewag racing team member.
“I also want to give something back to my team, who sponsor me, to my parents, who support me, and to my girlfriend, who now accepts that sometimes training is more important to me than spending time with her!”
Along the way he is keen to continue taking care of the environment and trying “to be nice to everybody”.
He is not looking forward to the day when he can no longer compete as a professional triathlete. “You cannot do professional triathlon forever and one day I won't be such good shape anymore.”