Caja Rural’s Jaime Rosón Gets PEZ’d
Rider Interview: The battle for the first Grand Tour of the season is well under way on the roads of Italy, but as Ed Hood points out ‘there is life outside the three week races’. Jaime Rosón was recently second to Vincenzo Nibali in the Tour of Croatia and hopes to be competing in Spain’s Vuelta starting in August. Ed caught up with the Zamorano.
If you’re a PEZ regular then you’ll know at this time of year we try to prove that there IS life outside the Grand Tours. And if you were observing the build up to the Giro you will have noted that Vincenzo Nibali chose the Tour of Croatia as his preparation race. Not one of the ‘big’ stage races but it provided good racing and ‘The Shark’ only claimed it overall on the last day after pinching a time bonus from a certain Jaime Rosón Garcia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA & Spain).
Rosón was Spanish U23 Road Race Champion in 2015, won a stage in the Tour of Turkey last year and this year took a stage in Croatia against top line opposition as well as finishing second to Nibali on GC. We decided he’s a man for the future and we should ‘have a word’. . .
PEZ: Croatia Stage Two, you were second to Durasek – were you happy with that or disappointed not to win, Jaime?
Jaime Rosón: In the heat of the moment I was annoyed because I had come so close to the win. Now, thinking about it a bit clearer, I can see it was a good result. I have put in a lot of work this year with the intention of winning races, so to be there disputing stage wins is something to be happy about.
PEZ: You won Stage 5 ahead of Nibali – that was a beautiful result.
Yeah, it was a nice result – especially ahead of a great champion like Nibali. I knew that I had good legs and that when the race got hard that I could win a stage. The team put their faith in me and I was able to deliver. It was an incredible sensation, one that I will never forget.
PEZ: It ended with you second on GC after Nibali stole the bonuses on the last stage – tell us about your feelings?
When Nibali won the bonus seconds I was feeling pretty low. For the whole stage I was demoralized because I knew it would be hard to win and it would have been my first GC victory in the professionals. In hindsight though, I´m happy with my result. I was beaten by one of the best cyclists of the last few decades so it’s hard not to be pleased. It was a great battle all week and to be up there competing with someone like Nibali gives me the motivation to keep working hard.
PEZ: You were also third overall in the Coppi Bartali stage race, were you happy or disappointed with that?
I am very pleased with that result. I knew it would be tough and that the time-trial would have a big impact on the result. I did everything I could to win a stage and came very close to pulling it off on Stage Two.
PEZ: How did you get into cycling – who were your idols as a young rider?
First my idol was Armstrong and later Valverde and Contador. With the latter two, I now get to race alongside them – something that makes me very happy.
PEZ: Tell us about the time you spent with the Ecuadorian team.
I prefer not to talk about it. It’s in the past and I can’t change it.
PEZ: How much did racing in South America and the Dominican Republic contrast with European racing?
There are many differences. It is not as professionalized there. They are starting to develop more, but it will take time. I really enjoyed racing there and lived many experiences that will stay with me forever.
PEZ: You rode the Tour of Colorado – what did you think of racing in the USA?
This race was my opportunity to get a big professional contract. I trained and looked after myself like never before to get in the best possible shape. To be honest I was surprised how well I performed there. I knew I was strong but I didn’t know to what extent. It was there I realized that I could make a career from cycling.
PEZ: And last year your first Grand Tour, the Vuelta – tell us about it.
It was a great experience. I enjoyed it and learned a lot. The results I am having now are thanks to that Vuelta. It has given me an extra depth as a rider and to be able to be more competitive. It was a brave decision by my team to send me there, but I think we are seeing the fruits of what I can do now. I think it was the right decision to do the Vuelta last year.
PEZ: What are your strengths as a rider?
The climbs are where I come into my own. My two professional wins have both been on the queen stages of races. I can also sprint well from a small group. I still have a lot to improve on as I am only 24 still.
PEZ: Do you still live in Madrid – is it a good base for a professional cyclist?
No, I was born in Zamora and I still live there. The websites that say I am from Madrid are wrong. Zamora is good for training. The only negative thing is that it doesn’t have long climbs to train on. But in general it has little traffic, good roads and it doesn’t rain too much.
PEZ: Where is Caja Rural based – how often do you have to go there?
The team base is in Pamplona. We usually meet there at the start of the year to get fitted for the team kit. Sometimes we also have to meet there to organize traveling to the races.
PEZ: What does your program look like for the summer?
I would like to do the same as last year. After the National Championships I will go to altitude and then come back for the San Sebastian classic, Vuelta Burgos and the Vuelta España. Although the calendar is not set, those are the races I would like to do.
PEZ: How will you prepare for the Vuelta?
As I said before, I will go to train for a month at altitude, possibly to Andorra like I have in previous years. It will all depend on whether I go to the Vuelta or not, but that’s the plan.
PEZ: If you could win just one race, it would be. . .
I still don’t know exactly what type of rider I will be in the future. I would like to win a World Tour week-long stage race. When I have more experience and if my abilities allow it, I would love to win a three week stage race.
# “Jaime Rosón Garcia,” remember where you read the first interview, #
It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,500 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.