PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : Europcar’s David Veilleux Talks Roubaix

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Europcar’s David Veilleux Talks Roubaix
Every man who endured the ‘Hell of the North’ on Sunday and then slumped down on the dry grass in the track centre with a well earned can of Coke has a story to tell. As journalists we have to choose the ones we think will be most interesting for our readers – and editor, if he happens to be Canadian. In our race preview we had expected FDJ’s hard man Dominique Rollin to be the man to fly the maple leaf; but in the event it was Europcar’s new recruit David Veilleux who dominated the Eurosport coverage for much of the afternoon.

Veilleux has been a professional on the North American scene since 2007 when he turned pro with Jittery Joe’s at the age of 19.

He was initially an off-road rider, with his first notable result being third in the 2002 Canadian debutant cyclo cross championship.

By 2006 he was Canadian U23 time trial champion, a title he successfully defended three times.

Then in 2008 he moved to Kelly Benefit Strategies, where he has remained until the end of last season.

Stage wins in the Nature Valley and Tour of Pennsylvania stage races and a GC win in the Tour of Elk Grove were the highlights of his first year with Kelly.

The following season saw strong performances on the world stage with tenth in the World U23 TT champs and a bronze medal in the Pan American U23 TT championship.

The 2010 season saw the man from Cap-Rouge grab GC wins in the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic in the US and Tour de Delta in Canada, not to mention a win in the hotly-contested US Pro criterium championship.

But for season 2011 he crossed the Atlantic to base himself near Nantes and ride with Jean Rene Bernadeau’s Europcar equipe.

He took time to talk to PEZ on the Tuesday after his epic day on the pave.

PEZ: Congratulations, David – an excellent performance; how prepared were you for the pave?
David Veilleux: We did two days of riding the course prior to the race, covering four or five sectors each time – including Arenberg.

PEZ: What was the Europcar game plan?
DV: Before the race we didn’t have one or two riders who were protected – anything can happen in the race, punctures, crashes; so we had a few riders who we knew could do well.

The plan was that we should try and get with the early break; and if we missed it then work for the team.

I covered a few moves and then I was lucky to get in the move of the day – we went at kilometre 85 with the first sector coming at 98.

David getting ready to take over on the front from Mitchell Docker.

PEZ: Did your racing coming in to Roubaix to prepare you for it?
DV: I’ve been really happy with my schedule, I’ve ridden almost all of the big races – Flanders, E3, De Panne, Three days of West Flanders, Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

In my first year it’s very exciting to ride races of that stature.

PEZ: How long were you away for?
DV: I was in the break for 140 kilometres, I did quite a lot at the front but that’s my style – and because the TV motor bike was in front of us on the sectors I realized that I was getting a little bit of draft off it.

Before the race my team mates told me to ride in the middle of the cobbles, the high spot, not at the sides because that’s where you puncture.

I rode in the centre but when I looked back I saw that the other guys in the break were on either side of the road, whilst I was sitting there in the middle behind the motor bike.

PEZ: Which was the toughest sector?
DV: Arenberg – as the race goes on and you get tired the sectors feel tougher; if you go below 40 kph on the pave you start to bog down and feel every bump.

Your arms, legs and hands all hurt; for the last sectors I was so tired that I had to risk puncturing and ride in the dirt or on the grass – I was just so sore and tired.

PEZ: Was that a full ‘cross bike you were on or a road bike with cantilever brakes?
DV: It was a full ‘cross bike with ‘cross clearances; but the Colnago ‘cross bikes are so good that I noticed no difference, it rode just like my usual bike.

We were on Campagnolo Bora wheels with 28mm Hutchinson tubulars.

I didn’t really pay attention but the mechanics put on bigger inside chain rings, 46 I think – but I never used it.

PEZ: Did you have any ‘mechanicals?’
DV: Our equipment is very good; I haven’t had one puncture or problem in all the races I’ve ridden with the team.

PEZ: Why do you think there were so many crashes, this year?
DV: I spoke to my team mates about that and they were saying that usually there will be one dominant team which will be at the head and the race is strung out behind them.

But this year that didn’t really happen and there were little groups moving up and down the pelotons with the result that there were more crashes.

PEZ: What do you do about food and drink in a race like that?
DV: Our support team was fantastic; as well as the two feed zones where we got musettes we had helpers after every two or three sectors – they had bottles and wheels.

I saw our helpers about ten times during the race; it’s so easy to drop a bottle in that race.

I started with normal food but as the race goes on you get tired and gels are about the only thing you can take.

PEZ: 25th at 3:45 – you must be happy?
DV: Stoked!

I’m really excited; I didn’t expect that in my first Paris – Roubaix, it’s been a huge boost for my confidence and motivation.

PEZ: With hindsight?
DV: I’m happy with how I rode, maybe I was at the front too much but that’s how I ride – maybe I have to learn to calm down a little?

At the end I was maintaining the tempo OK but when the attacks started there was no way I could respond.

PEZ: What about the famous Roubaix showers?
DV: I asked guys at the finish where they were, but they didn’t know – so I ended up having my shower on the team bus.

PEZ: How do you recover from a race like that?
DV: Monday I felt good but had a day off the bike; today (Tuesday) I did 75 minutes on the home trainer with a couple of sprints – and tomorrow we ride Brabantse Pijl.

PEZ: It hasn’t taken long for you to become part of the team.
DV: The atmosphere on the team is good, relaxed, and very friendly and there are some funny guys who are always making us laugh.

Thomas Voeckler is a good team leader; humble, hard working but always making us laugh – he’s probably the biggest joker.

PEZ: What now?
DV: After Brabantse I have four weeks off to recharge my battery then I start back again with the Tours of Lorraine, Picardie and Luxembourg before going home to Canada for the Nationals.

The team has framed my programme really well, they’re letting me recover and not putting me in too races – I’m very pleased with how it’s going.


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