What's Cool In Road Cycling

PEZ Talk: Aldo Ilesic Talks Success

When we last spoke to our man in the souk, he’d snared one stage win but was hunting for more – and to catch sight of some camels. He managed one of his goals.

This interview with Aldo Ino Ilesic was done immediately following a great performance by Ilesic and his Team Type One squad at the Tour of Morocco. Shortly thereafter, Ilesic was back on the road, but this time he managed to stay in North America, albeit a bit further south: the Tour of Mexico.

His excellent start to the season continued at the Vuelta Telmex with an opening stage victory, then a third place in the bunch sprint on the final day, one week later. Ilesic finished 5th in the Meta Volante competition, but never really had much of a chance at securing the green jersey in a race that was made for the climbers. Most every stage presented a monstrous obstacle and fast racing en route to the finish, so a stage win and a podium finish on two stages were about as much as Ilesic could hope for. The race provided another excellent opportunity for Ilesic to further refine his form and move forward toward the big goal of May’s Tour of California.

PEZ: A stage win in Tangier, Aldo?
Yeah, it was a hard day, there was a cross wind blew up after 25 K and that really decimated the field, maybe only 40 were left – but Team Type 1 were all there in the final group and my train did their job for me.

PEZ: And a win in Casablanca too?
There were a lot of people there, the finishing circuit was packed, all the way around. That sprint was a different tactic, we didn’t use a train; there were ten laps of a three lap circuit and as soon as we came onto it, I knew what I was going to do. With 500 metres to go there was a 180 degree turn, then a left and a right – I jumped with 600 to go into the 180 and was three seconds clear at the line.

PEZ: The green jersey, too – is that your first one?
I’ve worn green jerseys before, but this is the first time I’ve held one all the way to the finish. I lost it on the second to last stage, but my win on the last stage got it back for me.

PEZ: Podgornik (Slovenia & Loborika) won on GC?
Yes, but we got second with Kobzarenko – there were no sprint bonuses which made it difficult to separate things.

PEZ: Ten day’s racing – any tiredness?
Ten days, eleven stages; after six days you get into the rhythm. I had bad days on stages eight and nine but I came good, again. I had to get up early for my flight on Monday so that was tiring but I’m in good shape and looking forward to my next race.

PEZ: There were South Africans riding.
The South African teams are good, their national champion was here, Christoff Van Heerden (MTN Cycling team). The Russian guy who won three stages, Boris Shpilevsky (Katyusha Continental) was Pro Tour with Fuji-Servetto, last year – it was a good field.

PEZ: How were the North African riders?
They’re very strong but lacking in experience, so their tactics aren’t the best.

PEZ: Did the heat give you any problems?
I don’t have any problems with the heat, I drink a bottle of water with isotonic powder every 25 k or so.

PEZ: How were the prizes?
I don’t know exactly but I heard it’ll be around 300 euros per stage, that’s pretty low – for a 2.2 race like this it’s usually around 800 euros for a stage win. But we’ll see – it’ll be a surprise!

PEZ: A long flight back to the US?
No, I’m going home to Slovenia for nine days; I go back to the States then we have the Vuelta Mexico Telmex.

PEZ: Do you recover quickly from a long race and travelling?
I need a few days to see how tired I am, I’ll rest, sleep and see how I feel on the bike. I’ll get plenty of sleep ’til I start to feel fresh, again. It’s a long time since I rode a ten day stage race – the Tour de l’Avenir in 2004 (he was 2nd on stage 2)

PEZ: Favourite things about coming home?
My girlfriend, my family – and right now, I’m walking my dog!

PEZ: Type 1 management must be pretty happy?
For sure, we won the team GC, three stages and got second on GC.

PEZ: Camels?
Not one!

Never mind Aldo, you’ll just have to check out the iguanas in Mexico!

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