What's Cool In Road Cycling

PEZ Talk: Catching Up With Aldo Ino Ilesic

‘Form’ it’s a strange thing; take Team Type 1’s Aldo Ilesic. Three stage wins in the Tour of Morocco, a stage win the Vuelta Telmex in Mexico and then – nothing. Until the Tour do Rio in Brazil that is – two stage wins; it can only mean one thing. That elusive beast ‘form’ has returned.

PEZ: Congratulations on Rio, Aldo – we’ve missed you!
It’s good to be winning again, for sure. It was a good race for us, apart from my two stage wins, we had Chris Jones second on GC and Ken Hanson was in the top five on four out of five stages.

PEZ: How well organised was the race?
It’s the first time it’s been run and they need a little more work on route safety and transfers but it’s not bad. A good thing that they did was to have appraisal meets after each stage to look at what didn’t go well and how they could improve it.

PEZ: What was the opposition like?
It was good having three days to see the opposition, get to know them – I didn’t get that opportunity in Morocco or Mexico – although things didn’t go too well for me in those first three days.

As well as the Brazilian teams there were Argentinean, Cuban, Uraguayan, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian teams – Tomas Alberio from Trevigiani Dynamon Bottoli/Italia ran out GC winner after he won the first two stages. He actually crashed on stage four and lost six minutes but the field waited for him.

I had cramps the first two days and the third day was really a day for the climbers. Stages one and two were tough too, there was 1100 metres of climbing on the first day and 1600 on the second.

PEZ: Tell us about your wins.
On both occasions I was trying to lead out Ken Hanson for green jersey points but on stage four he came down in a crash; and on stage five it was chaos. There were two Brazilian guys away in the last kilometres and we caught them in the finish straight – but the motorbikes were still with them and I ended up having to squeeze through them.

PEZ: You’re obviously back flying; but why the loss of form?
I didn’t listen to my body; I went from Morocco to Mexico – which was at altitude – and after it I went straight into another stage race and crits. Instead of launching into that programme, I should have taken a couple of weeks rest.

PEZ: How much was physical and how much mental?
In my mind, yes I was disappointed, but after Philly – which was one of my big goals – where I just ‘blew up’ I sat down and looked at my historic training data – my form follows a pattern. I have two peaks: March/April/May – and one late, August/September. I should have rested, not pushed it.

PEZ: How did you get back to firing on all cylinders?
After Philly, I rested then slowly built back up. The ideal for me is to do a lot of miles and a lot of climbing in preparation – the sprint speed isn’t a big deal for me, it seems to come naturally – then do a preparation stage race, do lighter training after it and then I’ll be in shape for the target race.

PEZ: You had a big winter, a lot of hard work and you lost weight – did you do too much?
No, like I said I think the loss of form was down to my not listening to my body after that time at altitude and the natural rhythms of my system.

PEZ: What now?
Unfortunately, the two races I had down as major targets have been cancelled – the Tours of Ireland and Missouri. I have a big crit in my adopted home town of Charlotte, the crit Nationals where I’ll be working for Ken Hanson and an NRC race. I may finish early and begin preparation for next year early.

PEZ: What about the Worlds?
Slovenia has eight spaces available but there are new rules which say that riders can only ride if they’ve scored points in Pro Tour races, so only six can go.

PEZ: And what about Rio?
After the race we got the chance to do a little sight seeing – to start with it’s interesting and different and good to be able to say, ‘I’ve been there’ but after a while, it becomes just another city.

Nice to see the big man back, let’s hope he can grab a win in the US of A before the season is over.

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