What's Cool In Road Cycling

Tom Danielson: Rising Up

Our buds over at Procycling.dk talked to Tom Danielson this week about his first year in the European peloton with Fassa Bortolo and his hopes for the coming months and years. As always, Tom is a refreshing blast of enthusiasm for the sport he loves, and he is definitely a rider of the future…

– By Michael Thomsen of Procycling.dk –

Aiming High in 2005
PDK: This season is near the end. Have you learned something this year?

TD: Absolutely. I have learned so much it is hard to believe. Every race every day my eyes and ears are wide open trying to take everything in I can. I know I have a long way to go to reach my goals therefore I am very humble and look for every opportunity to learn something new.

PDK: What will your focus be next year?

TD: My focus will now be to go for victories. I will have many months to sit back and take in everything I learned in the offseason. I believe I have also surrounded myself with the right people. I will work harder then I ever have before and head into the 2005 season with nothing but results in mind.

PDK: What do you think about your own performance this year?

TD: Well, I am quite happy. Because of my inexperience my results don’t quite reflect how I actually rode. Take Romandie for an example. I finished 18th overall, but had I not missed a split in one of the flat stages I would have been top ten. Same for Euskal Bizikleta. I was climbing with the top climbers, but the first day was in the wrong place at the wrong time and lost 4 minutes for no reason. But, since, I have improved on positioning and understanding the race. I believe my record on Mt. Evans shows that my form is among the best climbers, but I need time to figure everything out and build my endurance. My time trialing is coming around as my 7th at Tour of Portugal shows. Again, I have so much to learn and I know it is going to be difficult, but anything easy is not worth striving for.

The Fassa Bees
PDK: How is your relation with the stars of the team like Petacchi, Frigo,
and so on?

TD: Well, I am kinda the new guy for sure. Again, I remain humble and respect
everyone on the team. I respect them just as I respect any other human being. I have a good relationship with them, but obviously I am closer with say Cioni or maybe some of the younger guys.

PDK: I suppose your change from Saturn to Fassa Bortolo was positive for
you, or is it harder to ride on such a big team?

TD: For sure. Everything is new. Not just the team, but the country, language,
and customs. It is all a big task to figure out, not just the racing!

PDK: Where do you see yourself when your current contract with Fassa Bortolo ends? Do you want to try another team, or do you prefer to stay with Fassa Bortolo?

TD: Well, I have another year with Fassa. I feel like my progress has been quite good this year. It is a whole new world here and I am learning things right now that these guys learned when they were ten. Based on fitness, I feel like I have improved tons. I am getting very close on the mountain top finishes and my time trailing is improving as well. For me, I would like to move a bit faster. I am always striving for perfection and personally I am shooting for a podium this year. Where? I don’t know, but I know my engine is there, I just need to get all the other aspects up with it. As for the future, I would prefer not to comment on it. I am very happy where I am, but we will see in the future.

The Past and the Future
PDK: How did you begin in cycling?

TD: I started back in Connecticut because my neighbor bought a mtb bike. I was into dirt bikes and for some reason fell in love with combining fitness with bike handling.

PDK: What do you think about the Manzano and Kelme affair, and the other
doping affairs this year?

TD: Who knows? I can say that personally and the members of my team do not use banned substances. It is important for myself and my team to be true to the sport and be responsible for the riders in the future. It doesn’t look positive to our future champions if the sport is synonymous with damaging your integrity, your health, and others. I can assure you that you don’t need to dope to realize any dreams you have. Basically, I don’t even think it needs to be part of the vocabulary any more. Cycling is a beautiful sport and will continue that way with the one with the strongest mind, body, and soul coming out on top without any outside help.

PDK: You have the potential to excel in both time trials, and mountain climbing, so which is your preference?

TD: Climbing is natural for me. But, I really want to become very solid in the TT’s as to win a grand tour you must do both head and shoulders above the rest.

PDK: What is your greatest goal in cycling?

TD: You know it, I just don’t want to say it. I will keep quiet until I am a bit closer to acheiving it. Maybe even then I won’t say it. But I can assure you it is behind me in every decision and every obstacle I go over.

Big in Denmark
PDK: You are beloved by cycling fans, especially in Denmark. Why do you
think this is? You are maybe the rider most fans identify with, right?

TD: Wow, thanks. Well, I don’t just want to be a machine of results. I want people to be able to identify with me and understand how human professional cycling is. I believe my job is to motivate others and give them hope. I had role models (and still do) who every day motivated me to wake up and make the most of myself each day. I want to do the same for others!

PDK: Anything you want to tell all your Danish fans?

TD: Thank you for all your support and I look forward to a long career full off
all kinds of exciting things with you guys!

PDK: Thank you for taking time for this Tom, and good luck the rest of this season and in the future!

Thanks, it was great talking with you.


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