What's Cool In Road Cycling

PEZ Talk: New HTC Signing Caleb Fairly

Does 12th place in your first pro race – which just happens to be the hotly contested UCI 1.1 184 kilometre Memorial Pantani – indicate a bit of talent? We thought so – and so did HTC Columbia who have just signed 23 year-old American, Caleb Fairly on a two year deal. And by the way, he was third in his second pro race the next day – the UCI 1.1 196 kilometre Giro di Toscana.

PEZ: Where are you from and how did you get into cycling?
Caleb Fairly: I’m originally from Amarillo, Texas – my dad used to race and that’s how I got into it.

PEZ: You were with Holowesko Partners/Felt, the Garmin U23 ‘feeder’ team – how did that come about?
CF: I rode for the US national U23 team with Chann McRae on the management; he was one of the first people who believed in me and got me my shot.

PEZ: Then you got a stagiaire place with Garmin?
CF: Yes, that started with the US Pro – that was a frustrating race, everyone sat around and looked at each other for too long!

Then I was in Italy and it ended with the Japan Cup.

PEZ: But you’ve turned pro with HTC?
CF: I had actually signed with Garmin but there was a clause in my contract which allowed me to opt out if I received an offer from another team.

Things were up in the air at Garmin and there was a lot going on with the Cervelo merger and HTC have a good record on bringing on young riders.

I’d had some contact with HTC, but it became serious after the rides I did in Italy.

PEZ: You rode strongly in the Olympia Tour of Holland in 2009; that’s a tough race.
CF: I was sixth on GC and second on the ‘Queen’ stage to Tejay Van Garderen – who I’ll be team mates with in 2011.

That was kinda cool, a US ‘one-two’ on a stage which folks dubbed a ‘mini Amstel Gold Race.’

It’s a hard race with the wind and lots of echelons forming – but luckily for me it came together again before the end, most days.

With being a little guy it’s not so much fun in the echelons!

PEZ: And you won Battenkill in 2010?
CF: Yeah, I like it when it’s tough – that day was cold, raining, on dirt roads and long by US standards at 200 kilometres.

It’s a race that gets a lot of attention in the US but the European teams don’t see stuff like that.

PEZ: Then came 12th in the Memorial Pantani behind Elia Viviani.
CF: I was very excited about that, getting that placing in my first European Pro race.

It’s held around Cesanatico – where Pantani lived and trained; I was in the break of 26 which went after just 29 kilometres, we stayed away all day and I hung in there on a wet, technical descent close to the finish.

PEZ: Then the next day, third in the Giro di Toscana behind Bennati?
CF: I was very pleased with that ride; there were a couple of big climbs early and the finishing circuit had a tough climb, maybe 12/13% and about 800 metres long, we did that four or five times and the group got a little smaller after each time up the hill.

PEZ: Have you had much contact with HTC since you signed?
CF: Yes, I’ve been talking to Allan Peiper about my programme, the team has a good history of developing young riders and I won’t be over-raced in my first year.

February and March will be relatively light; I’ll do the Challenge Majorca then a limited number of one day races, the Tour of the Basque Country and then The Amstel GoldRace, the Fleche-Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege – after that I’ll have a bit of a break.

It will take time for me to adapt to the Pro work load.

PEZ: Do you have a coach and are you a traditional or ‘high-tech’ devotee?
CF: Corey Hart has been my coach since 2007, we use SRM and Power Tap, he’s a scientific guy – we do downloads every day.

HTC are very scientific too, I’ve been sending my files to them so as they can familiarise themselves with my data.

PEZ: When’s the first training camp?
CF: We get together in California from December 5th to 15th – one of the things we’ll be doing is going to Specialized at Morgan Hill; I’m looking forward to that.

PEZ: Where are you going to base yourself?
CF: Girona in Spain, I was married in July and my wife speaks Spanish; we’ve been to see the town and it seems a perfect base – it’s a nice place, there are lots of guys to train with and a good choice of training routes.

PEZ: Has your role in the team been discussed?
CF: Really, I’ll just be learning the ropes, I haven’t raced in Europe much and there’s a lot to learn.

PEZ: What will make 2011 a success for you?
CF: I want to be consistent; I want to see an improvement in my fitness and I want the team to be happy with me.

With thanks to Caleb for his time and wishing him well for 2011.

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.