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Interview: Rubens Talks Turkey
In the pre-Giro (and Giro) frenzy, it’s easy for results to get ‘lost;’ but one success which will open a lot of doors for Team Type 1 was Alexandr Efimkin’s win in the Presidential Tour of Turkey. Instrumental in that result was Swiss time trial champion, Rubens Bertogliati, who took time before the Tour of California to tell PEZ about the team’s biggest win to date.

Reigning Swiss time trial champion, Bertogliati twice won the junior Giro della Toscana and turned pro for Lampre in 2000.

He rode his first Tour de France in 2001 but really sprang to prominence in 2002 when he catapulted out of the peloton to take the first stage and yellow jersey in that year’s Tour de France.

He rode with the pink and blue team from 2000 until 2003, picking up wins in the GP Chiasso, Bremagarten and the ‘Gianetti Day 2003’ before joining the aforementioned Mauro Gianetti’s Saunier Duval squad for 2004.

Bertogliati spent five seasons with the Spanish teams, through it’s various incarnations, riding two Tours and two Giros.

For seasons ’09 and ’10 he wore the white of Gianni Savio’s Diquigiovanni team and took two successive wins in the Swiss time trial championships as well as two hard fought second places in Giro transition stages.

Rubens working hard on the Strade Bianche earlier this season.

Moving to Team Type 1 for 2011 means there will be no Grand Tours for the Swiss rider – but the win in Turkey has gone a long way to ensuring that he’ll be back riding three week stage races in 2012.

PEZ: The first win, Rubens.
Rubens Bertogliati: Yes, we’ve had many top ten placings this season but in Turkey we tried hard from the start – Alex, Laszlo and I all went with the breaks.

And Alex got into the right one on stage four – after that there were only four or five riders who could win, and the next day they were tired after their efforts.

PEZ: I believe you contributed a lot to his win?
RB: The decision was made on the climb during stage six; F des J was strongest on the climb, but Alex and I stayed with them.

For us it was tactically perfect, because we had Laszlo in the break.

Alex’s rivals thought that they would be able to rejoin on the descent – but we made it too hard for them.

The roads in Turkey are very ‘heavy,’ it’s hard to pull back time.

PEZ: How did Alex handle the pressure ?
RB: He was getting better every day; he’s a real GC man – I’m guilty of getting excited in races and using too much energy, but Alex remains very calm.

PEZ: How did the celebration go, after the race ?
RB: Our manager, Phil Southerland came over from Greece – it was special, this was the team’s most important victory in three seasons.

PEZ: What’s the Tour of Turkey like for a rider ?
RB: It’s a special race, the roads are wide and straight, it’s not dangerous but it’s like riding Paris-Roubaix every day for eight days because the surfaces are so rough – although they are improving the roads.

You have to be strong mentally as well as physically – the roads are very straight and you’re using energy all the time; you can’t hide in the peloton.

It’s an excellent preparation race; I remember riding it three years ago and riding Fleche-Wallone after it – I was super strong after Turkey.

The organisation has improved since I rode it – I’d like to ride again, next year.

It’s good to ride new races in new countries.

PEZ: Tell us about the bikes getting stolen.
RB: On the last day of the Coppi-Bartali; that was a very bad day.

You can get a new bike but it’s not the same, you get used to your bike and the position; there’s an emotional aspect to it.

They stole the time trial bikes too and I’d spent a lot of time getting my position perfect.

PEZ: The TT1 programme must be very different for you ?
RB: The programme has been good, comfortable to start with – maybe we could have done with a few more one day races in France and Belgium, at the start of the year ?

But the programme now is more international – Turkey, California and I’m very excited to be riding my home race, the Tour de Suisse.

As well as good showing from the team, I want to do well in my own country.

PEZ: How involved are you with spreading the TT1 message ?
RB: The team is very active from a public relations point of view; a lot of people follow us on twitter and Facebook.

Societies who are involved with diabetes are very interested in the team and the fact that you can be a successful athlete and have the condition.

At races like Haut Var and La Sarthe there have been diabetes related events in the area, which I have attended.

PEZ: How does being on a US team compare to being on Spanish and Italian teams ?
RB: The team is US based but it’s an international squad – Americans, Swiss, Dutch, Russian . .

I think that’s how a pro team has to be structured, now.

The licence is US, but we’re racing all over the world.

PEZ: No Grand Tour for you.
RB: Yes, that feels strange, I’ve always ridden one, every year.

But I’m enjoying the change and riding the Tour de Suisse makes me happy.

Next year we have a good possibility that we’ll ride one; the team wants to grow – it’s no secret.

Our ultimate goal is for riders with type 1 diabetes to ride the Tour.

PEZ: Suisse is a hard race.
RB: Really hard, it’s very mountainous, not the best for me and it’s also a preparation race for the Tour de France.

But I want to show in the two time trials; even although I’m not a prologue specialist.

PEZ: And you’re riding California, too.
RB: I really like California, I did it three years ago and have friends there – it’s my second home race !


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