This weekend will see the debut of Andrea Eskau’s new handbike, designed and built by TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG). The 48-year-old multiple Paralympic champion will compete in the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Emmen, Netherlands, in preparation for her Tokyo 2020 campaign. Andrea will fight for medals in the Individual Time Trail on Friday and in the Individual Road Race on Sunday.
For the first handbike designed and built from scratch at TMG, the company made full use of its high-tech facilities in Cologne, Germany, to improve aerodynamic efficiency, power transmission and stability in corners and at high speeds while at the same time reducing the weight by more than 10%. The handbike features a carbon fibre monocoque, an 11-gear by-wire shifting, a stepless adjustable steering and cambered 20’’ rear wheels.
The handbike is the next step in the long-term cooperation between Andrea and TMG which started off in 2012 with the supply of individual carbon fibre components for Andrea’s previous handbike. Over the years, TMG produced two completely new sledges for the German athlete which helped her to win medals at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang and the 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Prince George, Canada.
On top of this, Andrea has been selected as one of 240 ‘Global Team Toyota Athletes’ who are supported on their way to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The athletes programme is part of TOYOTA’s “Start Your Impossible” and “Mobility for All” campaigns.
Norbert Schäfer, Project Commercial Manager, said: “Andrea has been a successful, enthusiastic and hard-working athlete and an inspiring person from the first moment we met her. Thus it was immediately clear to us that we will support her with our expertise and create a sports device which helps here to exploit her full potential. Thanks to everyone at TMG who has contributed to the project with outstanding dedication and motivation.”
Roger Kirschner, who designed the handbike in his role as Project Manager, said: “I took a look at the existing handbike and sensed it right away: It needs a new concept. I promised to Andrea: ‘I will change the dynamics and the system. You will like it.’ It’s exciting that I’m speaking to the racer and the race car in one person, because Andrea is the engine herself. We wish her a lot of success in the Para-Cycling Road World Championships this weekend.”