What's Cool In Road Cycling

Michel Thétaz: “The IAM Cycling team worked to perfection together, and we are no longer the small Swiss”

After an uneventful transfer flight, IAM Cycling riders had a chance to savor their 6th place in the team time trial on Sunday. Monday morning, following a good night’s sleep, the key word for the first rest day would be “recovery.” Standing at the gateway to the Pyrenees, Mathias Frank and his eight teammates took a 90 minute recovery ride in the sun in order to keep the legs moving ahead of their assault on the upcoming mountain stages.

Michel Thétaz, the founder of IAM Cycling and the CEO of IAM Funds, arrived Monday morning in the town Béarn at the foot of the Pyrenees in order to congratulate, encourage, and motivate his riders. He was pleased to declare himself very satisfied with their first week of racing. “We asked that Mathias receive the best possible protection to get him safely to the foot of the first mountains. That mission has been accomplished, and then we had the bonus of that excellent 6th place in the team time trial. The unified IAM Cycling team has worked to perfection in that stage like never before. It gives me a great deal of pride to see them today after three years of effort because we came very close yesterday to beating the biggest teams on the circuit. We are not the charming but unlucky ones, like the Caliméro cartoon, nor can we be dismissed as little Switzerland.”

Rik Verbrugghe, the manager for the Swiss team, took time to discuss his initial impressions of the team, and focused on two essential elements. “I am happy with the collective spirit that we saw in the first week, and now after taking 6th place in the team time trial, we have to respect ourselves more. From the first turn of the wheels, we really saw a united and cohesive team. The performance at the team time trial only confirmed this impression. The squads that finished ahead of us were five multinational teams with budgets exceeding 20 million Euros, and yet we were able to be competitive. This means that if we wanted to fight for a podium spot at the Tour de France, we have built a group of riders capable of doing that, adding of course a leader like Contador, for example. The team would hold their own on the road. It was a complicated week for everyone and we took the risk of not selecting a sprinter. It has been stressful and we were a bit beaten up. On the Huy stage, Mathias lost a considerable amount of time due to his crash, but after that blow, we have always been present. The team was able to react and keep its head held high in the best tradition. And in cycling, believe me, this is the most difficult thing to do. Now if there is one thing that we really could improve, it is that we must be more assertive against other teams in the pack. Our guys all have great qualities, but we are not as respected as Sky, BMC, Movistar and Tinkoff. Last year, the people watching the race, the cycling fans, and even the riders within the peloton would talk about the small Swiss team. Today, no team would dare to say that. We have made progress and have moved up a level. We are ready to charge into the more complicated stages such as those we will face in the Pyrenees. Now is the time that we need to seize the opportunities and especially try to find that perfect breakaway that makes it to the finish line. We are inherently opportunistic, aggressive, and concentrated around Mathias Frank to help keep him riding in the perfect conditions.”

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