The BMC Boys Get PEZ’d!
Over the last month we have spoken to the big names in the BMC team, so it’s about time we heard from the foot soldiers, the guys who might not be on the podium as often as Hushovd, Gilbert and Evans, but are every bit as important as the guys with the flowers, the trophy and the kisses from the podium girls. So here is the English speaking contingent of the BMC team.
At the recent BMC training camp, based in the rather nice Marriott La Sella Golf Hotel in Denia, Spain, the rider interviews finished off with a group quizzing of the English speaking riders on the team. Tejay Van Garderen, Adam Blythe, Steve Cummings, Taylor Phinney, Brent Bookwalter, Tim Roe and George Hincapie lined up in front of the gathered press for a few questions.
PEZ: With the bigger names on the team, has the team changed from last year?
George Hincapie: Yes, there are a lot of big names on the team this year and so far we have gelled together really well, having a great time at the camp with a great atmosphere and bonding, which is very important I think. These guys have added to what was already a great atmosphere.
George Hincapie enjoying victory in last year’s Tour of Colorado.
PEZ: Can the team help Cadel Evans defend his Tour crown?
George Hincapie: Yea I think so. I mean we did a good job last year and we have added more horse power, so I think we will be better this year.
PEZ: George, with Thor Hushovd and Philippe Gilbert on the team roster, will this change your role, will you get more freedom?
George Hincapie: I know where my role is and we will start off with those guys as leaders. I’ve been there and done that and I’ll take an opportunity, but the goal is to help them it’s great to have these guys on the team and for Roubaix and Flanders they right now are the strongest in the world so they are the ones we will be relying on.
Thor Hushov will add some major firepower to BMC’s Classics squad this year.
PEZ: For Adam Blythe; how do you feel in this team?
Adam Blythe: Yea I feel good; everything is going well just now. I’ve just come back from the Tour Down Under and it’s nice to be here with all the team, it’s not often we are all together, so it’s going good.
PEZ: Tejay what be your goals in the team?
Tejay van Garderen: I have a number goals though out the year, but the biggest one will be to help Cadel win another Tour and then my personal goals I want to do well in Pyrenees, California and Colorado.
PEZ: Taylor, you had some problems and things went wrong for you last year, are you doing things different for this year?
Taylor Phinney: I wouldn’t say they necessarily went wrong last year, I think I had a lot of learning experiences early on in the year, a lot of knee issues and weird crashes and you know I feel that I bounced back really well in the second half of the season and got a result in the Eneco Tour and was able to claw my way through thirteen days of La Vuelta and make the Worlds team for the time trial. So I felt like it went alright and gave me a really good base, a really good racing base coming into this year and now is my second year and I’ve done things a lot better this winter and I’ve come to this training camp much better. Last year at this training camp I just rode two days because I had a knee injury and this year I’ve been plugging away with the boys, so yea I think I’m having a better start and I’m just excited because of the guys we have here, everybody gels really well and its really impressive to have such huge names in the same team just getting along as well as they do and I’ve had a blast getting to know everybody and we are going to a really, really solid year and I just hope that I prove myself well enough to make some of the teams in some of the bigger races.
Taylor Phinney will get his first chance to shine in the biggest races of the Classics, starting, well, today.
PEZ: What are your personal objectives, with the Olympics this year?
Taylor Phinney: The main objective would be to make the Olympic team in the time trial, but we only have one spot for the US, so it’s going to be a pretty hot contest for that spot between Zabriskie, Levi, Tejay, so there are some big names there. So that would be the main goal, the Olympics are a pretty special place in most athletes hart and mine especially, so I’d like to make it back there. That and just being part of the Classics team in any Classics really would be pretty important for me.
PEZ: George again, will you be Thor’s wing-man during Paris-Roubaix?
George Hincapie: Well I have a lot of experience at Paris-Roubaix, I’ve ridden it seventeen times now I think? I usually go pretty well there and I know that Thor is the type of guy that just needs some help in the final when the big riders are going and I hope I can be there and make a difference for him in that race. He almost won it two years ago and he had a really bad crash when he was there for the win with Boonen. I’m sure he can be there again and if I can have a good day I can be there with him.
George Hincapie knows a thing or two about Paris-Roubaix.
PEZ: What does it take to win Paris-Roubaix?
George Hincapie: Well you obviously have to be very fit, you have to have experience on the cobble stones, you have to be on one of those days when everything goes right because it’s so important to always be in the front and your equipment has to be working well from the first kilometre till the end and you have to have a good final in your legs, the last five or ten kilometres are very important and it’s all about who has the most energy left for the velodrome. It’s all about saving energy in that race; it’s such a hard race it just wears away at you. Many times you arrive with just nothing, you just can’t accelerate anymore, but guys like Thor, who have a proven track record, and I think he’s got it well within himself to win it.
PEZ: Tejay; is there much difference from the HTC team and BMC team?
Tejay van Garderen: A lot of things are similar, once you get on the road training with the guys, you realise it’s just a group of guys riding bikes. We all get along well and we are all friend, same on Highroad, same on BMC. A bit different atmosphere, a bit more relaxed, a bit more…just loose, you know. On Highroad it was sometimes a strict structured sort of regime, here it’s kind of kicked back a little bit.
Tejay Van Garderen was great at Paris-Nice.
PEZ: Thor had said that it thought it felt strange that nobody put pressure on the riders to achieve anything, would you say that was accurate?
Tejay van Garderen: Thor said that? Well yea! I felt that, like I wasn’t told “you will be going to this race and we want you to be good here.” When I was in the team meeting with the manager, they said “what races do you want to do?” and “where do you want to be good?” So any pressure you get just comes from you personally.
PEZ: Tejay are you going to be the guy that will be there for Cadel in the mountains at the Tour?
Tejay van Garderen: That’s the goal, that’s what I want to try to do is to be there for him in the high mountains. I’ve only done two Grand Tours so far, so it’s hard to tell how I will be in the third week going up the last final climb as opposed to guys like Horner who know he can be there. But yea, that’s what they told me they want to do, that’s what they expect of me and why they got me and what I’m going to try and deliver.
PEZ: Tim you spent a lot of the (European) winter in Australia, what is the atmosphere there after Cadel won the Tour de France?
Tim Roe: All my friends were very happy with the win and it has made a big impact on Australian biking. All the bike shops are selling more BMC’s and I get recognised more because of the team I ride for. It’s put cycling on the map, its done good things for us. It’s made the dream more realistic now and with the GreenEdge team its helped keep things going and any race is a realistic goal for anybody, seeing Cadel do it has shown anything is possible.
PEZ: Brent; what was it like last year in the Tour, did the team have confidence in Cadel after he nearly got the yellow jersey, but then didn’t win it till the very end?
Brent Bookwalter: Yea through the whole race we were very confident, but we weren’t counting our chickens before they were hatched, we really took it day by day. We created a plan each day and for the most part we executed that plan in the first week, the second week we got a little bit of luck, but we worked really hard staying out of trouble and keeping Cadel where he needed to be and each day you get through creates a feeling of relief and accomplishment and you suck that up and let that build and fuel you for the coming stages, you more on and start the next stage as a new one. That worked well for us and we had Cadel where he needed to be.
PEZ: Adam; what is it like to have Philippe Gilbert as a teammate and for him to take you with him to BMC?
Adam Blythe: It was so much of him requesting me to be in the team, I was already speaking to the team before he asked, so it’s more coincidence that I’m in the team with Phil and its good that I’m here with him because he is the World’s best rider and I think a lot of guys can learn a lot of things from him in races. He is good for the atmosphere in the team; he’s always messing around and having a laugh which is always good.
PEZ: Are you going out with these famous Thor Hushovd training rides?
Adam Blythe: Yea, he’s starting a tour company ThorGuides.com, its true you should ask him about it!
PEZ: Steve you were one of the riders who took part in the team time trial simulations the other day, what was that like?
Steve Cummings: It was race simulation so we just did it like a race! It’s good to go through the whole process before the race because then we could iron out any possible problems with the equipment or nutrition or anything like that, so everyone knew exactly what we had to do and learn from each other as well.
PEZ: What is it like coming to BMC from Sky, has it been a new lease of life?
Steve Cummings: Yea I feel good and feel fresh and it’s nice to be here and a nice change, the team feels a lot different, a lot more fun and yea I’m really enjoying it. I think it show in how you are riding the bike, it’s easier, rather than someone cracking the whip!
Evans has had a quiet start to 2012 – don’t expect that to last much longer.
PEZ: George, you rode alongside Armstrong in many Tours, were there any differences or similarities to riding and winning with Cadel?
George Hincapie: Cadel is definitely more relaxed, he didn’t get so much involved in team tactics, in terms of the riders. He relied a lot more on what I thought on the road. This year he seemed a lot calmer and a lot happier with the people around him, with the team and the staff. He seems calm while Lance was always very intense during the Tour and always ready to attack the race, where as Cadel many times would let things go and see what happens and as long as he was at the front and out of trouble he was OK.
That was what the English, American, and Australian riders from the BMC team had to say and by the sounds of it they are all happy guys. They will probably win a load of races, but it sounds like they are going to have fun doing it!