Rider Interview: New Zealander Patrick Bevin is at the moment in Australia having just finished the Santos Tour Down Under with his BMC team. On stage 5 he towed the peloton to the base of Willunga Hill to set Richie Porte up for the stage win. PEZ spoke to Paddy at the BMC training camp in Spain before he jetted off to the antipodes.
The BMC line-up for the Tour Down Under
PEZ: So how are you feeling about the 2018 season with the BMC team?
Paddy Bevin: I’m pretty excited, excited to get going this year.
PEZ: Going from the Avanti Racing Team to Cannondale was quite a big step.
Yeah, I was 24 though and it was at the kind of time when I had some good results at the UCI .1 level in Australia and Asia and that was my way to make that jump. I had a very good 2014 season and I went to Canada and had almost a dream start really. I was good through the nationals and top ten on GC in Down Under and then straight into Paris-Nice and then it was an abrupt re-entry into bike racing pretty soon after that.
Riding for Avanti in Adelaide
PEZ: That first year (2016) with Cannondale you rode the Vuelta.
At the very end, yes.
PEZ: You didn’t finish, was that because it was a long season?
I was a very, very last minute call-up, it wasn’t on my program. My program was set out going through the team time trial Worlds and then all of a sudden I’m doing Burgos and all of a sudden I was doing the Vuelta, so it came up and I wasn’t in the best condition and I only got through half. But as dipping your toes in WorldTour racing, it wasn’t the end of the World and it set me up for the next season.
PEZ: Did that help you to ride the Tour de France in 2017?
I think it did, I had a good idea what to expect. Just how hard those first nine days can be and it lived up to that, for sure.
PEZ: How did you feel coming out of the Tour?
I was half the person I was! I crashed in the time trial and broke a bone in my foot and then it became a mission of getting through and doing what I could for the team. I finished and it was a big goal, and no matter where you go in cycling it’s great to put that one on the board.
Tour’17: Stage 9 congratulations from Julien Simon
PEZ: Did you learn something from that?
Yeah, well I hope I never have to go into that place again – 21 days with a broken bone in one of the toughest bike races in the World, one of the toughest sports events of the World, I think as a grounding for how much you can grit your teeth and get through it, I just hope I don’t have to go back to that place. I got around and I was never in deep, deep trouble with time cuts, or whatever. I did what I could for the team and on balance I enjoyed the experience. No one want’s to crash, but it was a great experience.
PEZ: Coming from Cannondale to BMC, have you noticed many differences?
They are both WorldTour teams. BMC feels, from a performance management stand point, it feels like a step up. The emphasis from a physiological/sports science stand point, it has quite a different vibe. It’s not about slagging Cannondale off, it’s a different approach to how they want to get results and what they want to do with the team and that is something I’m very excited about.
BMC Spanish training camp
PEZ: Does that put more pressure on you?
No, not at all. I think if anything it takes pressure off because at the end of the day you want to do this because we want to win and be part of a team that wins, be part of a mechanism that wins and if you have anything holding you back, as a bike racer, that is one of the most frustrating feelings in the World. So in a lot of ways I enjoy racing, I love racing, I love the performance aspect of cycling. It’s the most beautiful sport in the World, there is nothing else that encompasses the full range of what you see in sport like cycling. You come to a team where everyone want’s to do what they can to get a guy to cross the line first, that’s all I want as a bike racer. We are all looking to see how good we are, we are searching to see how we stack up at the end of the day. There is an internal pressure to perform, for sure, and you want to give it absolutely everything you can. You want the mechanism to do the best that you can and the actual process of finding that point. There is pressure, of course, but it’s not external pressure pushing in, it’s you wanting to push as hard as you can, because you want to find the edge, the limit. You want to find out how good you can be and how good you can be as a team.
New BMC bike and kit for 2018
PEZ: What kind of rider do you think you are?
It has been tough, I came in late and I’ve bounced around – A bit of an all-rounder. At the moment I have a big focus on the time trial, which is not something we had an opportunity to do a lot with at Cannondale. I’ve come in to BMC and I have already set myself up with aero testing and some equipment and so it’s about computing the power to speed and I like that, because of the purity of that. Once again you find out how good you are, there is no hiding in a time trial. Outside of that I just want to integrate into this team and be part of a super strong team time trail squad.
I grew-up in a rugby background, a full team sport, then coming to cycling which is a team sport, but doesn’t quite have the same team sport aspect, there is something about putting it together with your teammates in a team time trial, it’s great to be part of that. As for road-races; we have some great champions on this team and you want to be part of them winning and you want to find out where you are going and which direction that is and how you are going to play those cards.
PEZ: So you played rugby?
Yeah, right up to the middle of high school. I was the smallest guy on the pitch and I was probably 12 kilos heavier than I am now. I played right up until I was 15 at school. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag for me, I’ve had some good results in time trials and some good results in some selected bunch finishes and some good results even on some uphill finishes. I’ve been molding myself into a guy who can deliver a lot of power.
A man who has it all
PEZ: That was something Jonathan Vaughters said about you, he said ‘you have it all.’ That’s pretty good.
It is, but the sport at this level is very hard to have it all. I would rather have one thing really, really well. We are working on it.
PEZ: BMC is so time trial minded, it’s not a bad place to be.
No, that was a big draw card, for sure.
PEZ: Do you know your schedule for 2018?
The Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans race is the first block. Obviously you come into a team as the new rider there is a certain amount of seeing how you fit in and showing that you can do the job, perform and all that. We’ll take that first month and then have a bit of a reset and look through the next couple of months.
PEZ: What about the Classics?
I don’t have a lot of experience. It looks like I’ll have a few semi-Classics this year, the team has talked about a couple routes, but it’s hard if you don’t have the experience, you can’t just drop in and do it. A big part of coming to this team was putting your faith in the sports science department and letting them guide you into your niche. It has been hard for me bouncing around different roles and different races and I think part of this team is putting faith in the system and doing your best working with them to be the best you can.
PEZ: Did you ever do much of the Belgian thing?
No, just amateur and professional kermess. I’ve only had two seasons on the WorldTour and I broke ribs in Paris-Nice and this year I had some sickness coming back after Australia, so there has been a bit of a hole in my season both years. It makes it hard but not impossible and I think we will just keep working with the team and start slotting into those roles where I can be useful and finding out how I fair.
Redlands win for Bissell
PEZ: You were in America for quite a while.
It was only three years. I was young, 19, 20, 21. So I did some time there. I did a full season with Avanti in Asia and had a great time with that team. It’s different, and the power you need to win some of those races is not a World away from over here, it’s just the fact that races are different, it’s almost a different sport. It was a bit of a learning curve.
PEZ: How do you think the Tour de France compares to the Vuelta a España?
Both times I was called up late, so that’s never ideal. In the Vuelta I really struggled from day three or four, in the Tour, with the injury I wasn’t bad, I faired all right through. They are different types of races, the Tour is very controlled, but it’s so hard and everyone is so good that there is that element of control you don’t see in other bike races. I think if you are going to fall down in stage 1 and get through, but had I broken my foot in the Vuelta I wouldn’t have got through. That control in the Tour makes it manageable. Also growing up in New Zealand, you get the Tour, bike racing is the Tour de France, it’s the pinnacle. Always, where ever you go you always have a soft spot for that race. For 90% of the World it’s what they know.
PEZ: Where do you see your career going?
I think the time trial will play a big part in it. I’m excited to be working with these guys and want to see how fast I can go, it’s my ambition to win bike races. You come into any team and you want to win. It would be great to look back and say that I won a World team time trial title, that would be great. For that purely personal satisfaction, goal execution, delivery aspect, it’s something that a I really enjoy, that kind of discipline. Then there are the road races and you want to be part of that.
Tour de France 2017 stage 1 time trial
PEZ: So what would be your dream win?
The individual time trial on the road, but then I do a lot of road racing, so I’ve always though for my kind of characteristics that something like Amstel Gold and the finish of that race, were you have to move yourself up the climb and still sprint at the end is something I have had in my career. You like to take it to the highest level and you have that kind of race, so that gives you a couple of pinnacles you have to aim at.
PEZ: Have you thought about what you might do after cycling?
I’d like to go into engineering. In a dream scenario I would like to go the R and D of, maybe not cycling, but some sport, whether it’s Olympic sports, the track, or we have such a big water sports scene in New Zealand. From a technological stand point from what you learn, composite materials and even from a physiological stand point, the way we work with power and the physiological stuff is very interesting. I would go back to college, I’ve been very close to picking it up and adding it in, but it’s very difficult. I enjoy that side of it, the technology, like in this team the time trial bikes are amazing, it’s the best one out there and you see that equipment and the stuff that goes in behind that brings enjoyment, to be honest.
# Good luck and thanks to Paddy and Phoebe Haymes for the interview. #
Patrick Bevin happy to be part of the BMC team