Rider Interview: The CCC team were in Spain for their yearly December training camp, get together and media day and our PEZ-man in Spain, Alastair Hamilton, wasn’t just there for the special CCC tiramisu. Patrick Bevin flew in from New Zealand for his regular PEZclusive catch up on the year past and to look forward to 2020.
Patrick Bevin – Training in Spain
PEZ: Last season wasn’t too shabby, the start of the season anyway, it was pretty good?
Yeah, on balance it was pretty good I think. I could have done without the two crashes, the one in Down Under and the one in the Tour de France. They just came at a really bad time and made a big hole in the season, you’ve done all that training for TDU and then trying to build back up through races like Catalunya, that are extremely hard. And then into some nice results; Romandie, Suisse and then to go down again in the Tour. It’s kind of six months of the season that were made really hard, from the Tour de France onwards I was chasing form really. It was a really tough end of season, but to finish off with the Worlds, to be to be up there at the Worlds was nice. It was definitely hard to take, but on the balance of the season it was nice to come back from where I was and keep the trajectory going in the right direction.
PEZ: In the Tour Down Under, it was like bang! GC four days.
Yeah, four days, stage win, then finishing in the points jerseys. So plenty of good came out of that race.
TDU19 stage 2 win
PEZ: And two weeks before that you said to me: “We’re not a GC team. We’re just going for stage wins.”
Yeah, then rolled out of the blocks and took 10 seconds on the first day, with sneaky time bonuses. Look, the sport is hard and you gotta scrap for every, every result. For a rider like myself, and you get a program that’s only WorldTour races, any result you get through the year is so hard to come by, so if you can sneak in there and utilise the form. I was obviously good, I won the National chrono the week before, and then the numbers were right and I knew the form was there, so you kind of gotta make that count when it’s on offer.
PEZ: You must have got a load of UCI points for that as well, no?
No, not really. The UCI points really weigh towards GC and one day races, individual stages at those WorldTour races. So even at WorldTour they are not worth a whole lot.
In the TDU leaders jersey
PEZ: Then you took second in the Vuelta a España time trial and fourth in the Worlds.
Yeah, yeah, I was close.
PEZ: But you were very, very close on many occasions last season.
I think if your season is a little bit more consistent when you are not battling back, you can turn those fourths and seconds into wins. We were sat here a year ago and I was like: “I want to win one”, but I still haven’t won one, but that’s time trialling, it’s so hard and I think it’s got harder and harder and harder at the top end and all the teams doing so much now on the equipment, that it’s become a real arms race. Which is nice, which we get involved in. We’re trying to push, push the equipment, push your sponsors to have the fastest equipment out there. And so yeah, the goal next year, doesn’t change a whole lot. It’s actually a much nicer year to be a time trialist, because last year, I think, the last stage of Romandie was the first WorldTour time trial I did. Obviously there was the prologue in Romandie, but that’s a real niche, short, sharp race. So we’re not really getting out of the blocks until April/May, and then you only have a handful of opportunities: One at Romandie, Tour de Suisse and the one at the Tour which I didn’t make. Then the one at the Vuelta and then the Worlds. So that’s kind of five time trials all throughout the season. This year as an Olympic year and the races, I think have changed quite a lot. It seems to be coming away from team time trials and going back towards individual time trials. Tirreno, Abu Dhabi, there is no team trials there. So it kind of changes the seasons for me a bit, but it’s really exciting and actually there is a lot more opportunity.
PEZ: Do you think riding for two days with broken ribs was really a good idea at the time?
No and it hurt. I’ve done ribs in before and it was one of those ones where I knew it was bad. And, you know at the Tour you want to keep going and get back on the bike, but I knew and as soon as we had the scan it took about 30 seconds for them to find a break with an ultrasound. So, yeah look it was it was a pretty horrible one to come back from and it was bad enough to put me on the sidelines for quite a long time. But there was still a lot left of the season, although you end up in this July/August funk were you spend a month or three weeks without really training, you try to get back on the rollers and all that, but you are not really training and you turn around you look: “I’ve got three weeks to get ready for the Vuelta and the World’s come a week and a half after that”. This is going to be really tight, this is definitely triage mode where you’re trying to get TT fit with the most effective way possible. So, mentally it was tough and for a while there we just didn’t really know how to come back on time. It was going to be so hard to piece it all together when you’ve got two good goals with two really nice time trials at the end of the year and the World’s in Yorkshire. So you gotta kind of really piece it back together in time.
PEZ: I don’t know how you could have ridden for two days. I cracked two ribs when I fell off a scooter when I was pissed, you can’t cough, you can’t fart, you can’t laugh.
Ha! Bet you scrub that from the interview. It got worse for me. So the first day wasn’t so bad, I got around but it was getting worse. With the swelling it gets bigger in some places and dissipates in others and you really find out what’s sore.
Vuelta’19 stage 10 TT
PEZ: And there isn’t anything you can do.
No, no, it’s a miserable existence. Only give it time.
PEZ: 2020, Olympics and Worlds?
Yep. The season will be the Giro with three time trials.
December CCC training camp
PEZ: No Tour?
Probably not. So, Romandie and Giro, so you have five time trials in a month and then you go Olympics and Worlds, and they are all good time trials, a real mixture and the Worlds are going to be pretty flat. The Giro’s got a prologue and finishes on a climb. So it’s a good year. I’ve never done an Olympics, but I’ve been setting myself up to go and I think my results from last year helped me build a season around the Olympics and my race program does reflects someone that will go to the Olympics. So really looking forward to using that opportunity to prepare for Tokyo. It’s an interesting course, definitely on the limit for a rider like myself with the tough climb twice, it’s not particularly long. I haven’t seen the course but from the video and the data I’ve seen it looks like a really interesting time trial course. Like I said, the season for a time trialist is ten fold better than it did last year.
PEZ: You will also have to ride the road race?
Yes, I have too. It comes before the time trial and there is stuff to be figured out there with how that goes down but the priority is to be 100% for the TT.
PEZ: People are saying you can’t finish the Tour and go straight to the road race. They were talking about maybe not finishing or just sitting up in the final week, but that wouldn’t be a problem for you?
I don’t know, I think for the road race, maybe you can, depending on how you travel. I know for some of the euro guys that only race in Europe, they’re going to suffer flying there and working that out. So I don’t know. It’s a shame that this is so close to have two pinnacle events crammed right on top of each other, but that’s sport, and it definitely opens up the season, I think you’ll see a very, very competitive time trial field at the Giro, assuming everyone’s going to do more or less the same thing. So the time trials at the Giro will become huge, which is which is awesome because this is what you want, because you want. It’s good for the fans, for the Giro, it’s good for everyone really. I’m happy that it works out like that and they give the opportunities there for the chrono guys and if they all line up and do it in a Grand Tour and then we have the Olympics.
Ready for 2020
PEZ: It looks like an interesting season.
I think for sure. The Olympics throw in an interesting dynamic to the year because they are huge, they are huge for everyone in every sport and it balances the year I think a little bit more than being Tour centric.
On the Tirreno’18 podium
PEZ: I remember last year said you were more confident. So now a year on, with how good a season you have had, is that confidence even more stronger?
Yes. You do, to be honest, you do feel like you come to crunch where you put a lot of resources into the time trial and you want to be the best, no one remembers second, third, fourth and fifth. In time trials it’s hard and I’m not changing tack with that and the confidence is here because each year I have got better and the gaps have come down the results have got better, so you are going in the right direction. And you’ve got to really back yourself to carry on that because it’s the only way. At the end of the day, the time trial is the first guy covering the distance wins. In the time trial you lose a lot of the other aspects that make up cycling, it’s a very raw event. But with that, you don’t accidentally win one, there’s no kind of ‘you gotta right on the day’. The best guy on the day wins. You’re putting yourself up against the absolute pinnacle. So for me the confidence has growing because I’ve stood my ground and pushed on and it’s got better. Obviously you want it to happen fast and faster. Everyone wants it now, but that’s sport at the elite level, if you’re gonna have to grind for it, it’s going to take some time and I think while the results are getting better, I’ll keep pushing harder.
PEZ: What was the best day of the year?
Best day of the year? Probably the Worlds. It was a shame I wasn’t 100% physically, just with the short preparation, but given my season as the way it had gone and how hard are pushed to get ready for that, it was a solid result. Obviously to win a Down Under stage, like I said, that was probably more in the cards fell in my favour category. It was an uphill finish on a day when it got messy in the finish. It was really enjoyable, it was great, but for me the sport is the straight ahead, the physiological battle of the time trial, so I want to be better and better and those. I really enjoy racing in the UK, it was the only races all year and to go to the world’s as a Kiwi with a good Kiwi crew, it was really enjoyable. So for me that was the highlight of the year.
The 2020 season on the horizon
PEZ: So what’s your first race?
I start at Down Under. They’ve moved the Nationals, the Nationals are after, so it’s Down Under, Cadel’s race and then Nationals, then back to Europe
PEZ: Then after that you build up for the Giro, do you know which races?
They are waiting to see the parcours of Paris-Nice as that will be my final build up there. There will be some one-day races and Belgium and then Romandie. It’s still very much time trial focused, but a lot of the week-long stage races that I did last year didn’t have a time trial. Pais Basque had a crazy hill top thing and Catalunya didn’t have one. You know the races change and as a time trialist, the courses really do dictate your race programme. I really hope Paris-Nice has a similar time trial to last year, like a nice long rolly one in March, that would be perfect.
Time to train
# Thanks to Phoebe and Amy for their help and good luck to Patrick, see you next year. #