PEZ: Congratulations, Andrew – was the U23 TT your first national championship win?
I won the collegiate road title in 2008, but this year was special.
PEZ: The season started well for you.
I was best young rider at Gila and then I won the prologue at Joe Martin (NRC event).
PEZ: And Europe went well?
I won stages in the Volta Tarragona and Tour des Pays de Savoie and was third on GC in the Ronde de l’Isard d’Ariege. All hilly stuff.
PEZ: Three years with Garmin?
That was really nice, I was very excited to sign for them – three years is their way of saying that they’re investing in me, they want to see me develop.
PEZ: Were there other teams ‘sniffing?’
The Garmin thing actually started way back at Joe Martin but they didn’t release it until I won Nationals. It’s meant that this year I’ve been able to focus on the racing – I’m not thinking, ‘I must get a result here in order to get a contract.’ I did talk to another team but Jonathan Vaughters and I had really positive conversations about how he saw things going for me and we have similar goals for me – he’s a man that liked to give opportunities to young US riders.
PEZ: 2009 wasn’t so good; 2010 couldn’t be much better.
It’s just life, you go though lows and then there are highs – it’s not just cycling that happens in. Last winter I really looked at what I needed to do to get the results I wanted. I’ve always done the training, but training is one thing and racing is another – when I did well at Gila it gave me the confidence, the self belief. You can be as fit as you want but if you don’t believe in yourself then you can’t win.
PEZ: Have Garmin given you any pointers about how they want you to prepare for next year?
Not specifically but I’m always open to input and advice – I’ll be stepping up to another level. Todd Hancock is my coach, he’s been with me since my first race, he’s always believed in me – he’s now my agent and we’ll be working together over the winter.
PEZ: Has your role in the team been discussed?
I have in mind my ideal and they have their ideal – I hope those will dovetail well. But I’m looking forward to being around riders like Vande Velde and Farrar learning from them. One thing I want to work on and improve is my time trialling – they’re a team that’s into that discipline and I know that I have a lot more to come, there.
PEZ: Any indications on your programme?
Not a whole lot, they have a team get together before the first training camp and that’s when that’ll be discussed. Stage racing is where I can be good for the team and non cobbled tough one day races.
PEZ: Will you be moving to Girona?
I still have to decide, I live in Lucca in Italy and I like it here, the roads, culture, the restaurants – but it is something I’ll have to make a decision on.
PEZ: Do you know many of the guys on Garmin?
I’ve raced against them but don’t really know them. I’m on the National team with Alex Howes and he’s going to Garmin too, so it’s good I’ll have friend there with me.
PEZ: You’ll be looking forward to getting hold of one of those nice Felts?
Yeah, they look really good – I’ve been riding Specialized this year and they’re really nice bikes but it’s always exciting to have something new to look forward to. I’ll be getting fitted for my time trial bike after the winter break – that’s something I want to devote time to, my TT set up. If you look at the Garmin guys – even the ones who aren’t time trial specialists – they all look really good on their TT bikes.
PEZ: You have a pretty exciting block of racing coming up.
Yeah, we have Valle d’Aosta, the Avenir and the Worlds – I’m really excited about getting the opportunity to ride the best amateur races in the world. Aosta is tough; steep climbs, a quality field and watched carefully by the talent scouts for the pro teams. Our US team will be going there well prepared and rested. There was a possibility of going stagiaire with Garmin, but this is my last U23 year and I’d like to ride these races. At the Worlds I’ll be riding the time trial and road race – winning the nationals got me an automatic slot for the TT.
PEZ: ‘Living the dream’ – how does it feel?
It’s a really, truly amazing feeling – when we spoke back in the winter, I didn’t say too much about my goals but I’ve met and surpassed them. Last year I was struggling but this year I’m able to realise my dream and make cycling my profession – I get to do what I love. It’s payback for my friends, girl friend and family who supported me and believed in me – I’m proud for them that they’ve had a return on me.
With thanks to Andrew for taking the time to talk to us, we’ll be keeping a close eye on those Valle d’Aosta results.