Meet: Langkawi Winner Tom Danielson
Tom had promise when he shattered Tyler Hamilton’s record up Mount Washington by over a minute. Then just 5 days ago he won the prestigious Tour of Malaysia. He can climb, he can time trial, and Phil Liggett thinks: “he could one day win the Tour de France”. I’ve known many righteous 24 year olds but rarely one this eloquent. PCN is pleased to present someone you’re not done hearing about, Tom Danielson.
BORN: EAST LYME, CT, MARCH 13TH, 1978
LIVES: DURANGO, CO
Weight: 129 LBS
TEAM: SATURN (2003)
The Arrival: Tom celebrates his convincing victory at the 2003 Tour de Langkawi.
EVB- Tom, was the Tour of Gila your breakthrough on the road before being picked by Mercury last year?
TD- Yes. Gila was when Rick (Crawford, his coach) saw the power I had.
EVB- Power is not the first thing that comes to mind at 129 LBS.
TD- I was 150 before.
EVB- How did you re-invent your body so quickly?
TD- It was a time where I had little college left and wanted to focus on becoming a good pro. This is where Rick convinced me it could be done. I didn’t believe it. Through a liquid diet with a balanced protein/carbo ratio that sped my metabolism and increasing my time in the saddle, we did it. But it was a mental breakthrough as much as a physical one, commitment.
EVB- You majored in marketing and psychology. What does Carlson marketing do for Team Saturn?
TD- In fact, I just graduated in December! They’re the link between Saturn the sponsor and the team. They demonstrate the cash value of what we’re doing. They can rate events we do A, B or C for return on investment, from appearing at a car show in Detroit to SFGP (San Francisco Grand Prix).
The young Saturn rider impressed even Phil Liggett with his Langkawi performance.
EVB- Did you know you were gonna fly in Malaysia, did the Team purposely prep you for it?
TD- Nah, I mean… If I finished, great. Nathan, Chris who won it before and myself were going good in Santa Barbara (Saturn’s training camp) which was a gauge. The Genting Highland’s first gradient (decisive Tour of Langkawi stage) is like 6-8% for 25K than goes 12% and 18% the last 3K. Mt Washington is steeper but this is after something like a 100 miles of racing.
EVB- How do you acclimate in mid winter?
TD- You just can’t. I went to Tucson for a bit and layered heavily to overheat my body in training but when you get off the plane after a 36 hour flight, sweating… Nothing you can do. You can ride the home trainer in a sauna is about it! Heat/humidity scored a 100 all the time, couldn’t believe it!
EVB- Was the racing hard from the gun since you didn’t have to warm up (smirk)?
TD- First hour at times was at 60K/H. One Euro guy down on GC went and teams chased!
Never forget your roots: The former mtb star can climb and tt.
EVB- You excelled in Mountain Bike racing before. How do you view our fellow Canadian Roland Green’s performance in Malaysia (4th o’ all)?
TD- No surprise at all. When you’re the strongest in the world, you’ll go well anywhere.
EVB- And I heard he’s joining Postal to among other things, prep for Hamilton?
TD- He has a good time on the road. He’s a great time trialist.
EVB- Now the media dust settled on Moninger, can you tell us a bit about what’s going on with your ex teammate?
TD- Don’t really know… He’s proving his innocence and appealed everything but just hasn’t released the name of the tainted supplement manufacturer. None of this has soiled Scott’s name to the people that matter and know him. He’s still training and joined me in Tucson. He plans on racing this summer.
(EVB – Note: What impressed me most was how Tom got animated about the position of the USFADA towards his ex teammate, Scott Moninger. He clearly hopes good comes out of this so a rider doesn’t have to lose his credibility to save the one of an Administration. He said so.)
EVB- Good to hear his morale is good. Where does your agenda take you from here? Do you have some time to recover?
TD- We flew back from Malaysia the day after the finale. Pomona (CA) is next in April. The Peace Race in May, Philly is a big one and will do what is asked of me. It suits a power guy but if a climber goes good, hope it’s’me. July is somewhat unknown. If I go good in Philly perhaps Beauce (Grand Prix De Beauce).
EVB- Tour De l’Avenir as well?
TD- Definitely. Don’t want to rub the sponsors the wrong way, in any way. If the SFGP is a target for late season I’ll be there.
EVB- How do you and your girlfriend (Kristin Johnson, T-Mobile racer) live? Are you buying a place together? I know she takes an important place in your life. Marriage?
TD- We share a condo. Kristin decorates. It’s neat and tight. We keep trophies or cycling memorabilia out of sight to an extent so to not focus on that when we walk in as we want more (trophies)! Ha, ha! Couldn’t describe the style. Funny you should ask! We were just looking at houses but we’re so busy. An engagement is in the planning.
EVB- Will your respective schedules cross paths?
TD- Actually it will! It’s a relief. We also do easy rides together. She’ll motor pace me and I’ll motor pace her throughout the season.
EVB- How’s your new equipment? Or notable piece of equipment you count on?
TD- My biggest concern was how the bike was gonna climb going from scandium to titanium.
EVB- Afraid ti would be too whippy?
TD- Exactly. But it’s fantastic! And I use Powertap.
EVB- For Rick to keep tabs on you wherever you’ll be through the season?
TD- Totally. An important tool.
EVB- You had a scare snowmobiling (trek towards the Continental Divide) in December. How did it happen?
TD- Laughs… You put a bunch of guys together that love speed and you get Dionne and Johnson edging you through each corner. Thought I broke my leg or something and I wasn’t even going that fast. Tumbled near a cliff with my snowmobile landing on my leg, foot near the belt. Man!
EVB- Gotta watch out for Canucks, I mean, Tim Johnson spends a lot of time North of the border.
TD- I know! He taught us.
EVB- Tom, pleasure talking with you from Durango and good luck in the coming months! As the public is getting to know you, anything you want to add?
TD- Thanks Eric! I just want to add how impressed I am with Saturn and Andrjez.
See more at the Team Saturn website.