This is my first blog entry for VeloNation, and here I'll try to keep everyone updated about what's going on during the off-season, as well as once the racing gets started next year.
This is my first blog entry for VeloNation, and here I'll try to keep everyone updated about what's going on during the off-season, as well as once the racing gets started next year. My first season in the ProTour went much better than I expected. I rode the amateurs in Italy so it was like a second home.
Winning the white jersey in the Giro d'Italia during my first ride in a three-week race was completely unexpected...I still almost can't believe it!
Right now I'm on a break...no bike at all, just a little swimming to stay fit. I've realized that here in Monaco when you're not training you don't really have much of a life! I'm just completely chilling out until the first Saxo Bank training camp in late November. There really aren't many foreign riders left around here, so there's really not much around here to do.
I was thinking about getting a dog, but it's tough because I'm away so long during the season, so then I'd be forced to find some sort of "permanent" girlfriend instead of living the charmed life of a bachelor!
Enough of that, back to my year.... The first part of the season was horrible, really. I was lucky to be with such a team as Saxo Bank. Instead of coming in with a lot of pressure, I had guys like Bobby Julich and Bradley McGee bring me along to ease me into the ProTour. Paris-Nice was filthy. The weather was crap - if it wasn't snowing and rain it was crosswind and freezing! I'm surprised I made it out of that with all of my fingers and toes intact...
So after France I trained with my friend Leigh Howard in Italy for a few weeks before I headed to the Tour of Romandie. I felt great going into what would be my second week-long race at this level. Unfortunately, my legs were on better form than my brain and I ended up going over the barriers into the crowd after 200 meters...it could've been worse - I didn't come in last and I didn't get hurt.
Lets fast-forward three days - I pre rode the time trial course in the morning - I knew it was really good for me - it had a climb straight away and a really technical descent to finish it off. Straight after I finished Bradley McGee said it would be a hard time to beat...one of mechanics came over and told me that Ivan Basso was a minute and a half behind! So, I went and sat with my teammates and everybody on the bus and we watched the rest of it together...when I watched the third last guy come in, that was when I realized I would be on the podium. Then just a few minutes later I was sitting there - a neo-pro after just five months of being a professional with my first win - it was really special for me.
Okay, enough for today - will pick it up from the Giro in the next entry.
Thanks for reading!