Blaz Jarc Interview: NetApp rider on Paris-Roubaix debut and more
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blaz Jarc Interview: NetApp rider on Paris-Roubaix debut and more

by Ed Hood at 6:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Paris-Roubaix
23 year old builds experience in some of cycling’s top events

Blaz JarcAs Tom Boonen and his QuickStep henchmen endure endless post-Roubaix interviews; Sebastien Turgot is hailed as the saviour of French cycling and Alessandro Ballan explains yet again why he didn’t go with Boonen, the men who shore up the finishing list slip quietly home for a well-earned rest as their spring campaign comes to an end.

NetApps’s 23 year-old Slovenian Blaz Jarc was en route home to Slovenia for the first time in two months when VeloNation caught up with him on Monday.

He was a national junior road race champion in 2005 and a serial winner in the junior ranks in 2006. The following year, he was fifth in the classic Italian U23 GP della Liberazione, riding for Slovenian Continental team Adria Mobil.

By 2009 he’d graduated to Slovenian U23 time trial champion and elite road race champion; taken 10th in the European U23 road race and 11th in the Euro U23 TT championships – plus a fine eighth in the U23 world TT championships in Mendrisio.

In 2010 he was 18th in the U23 Tour of Flanders, landed the same placing in the world U23 TT championships and was 13th in the world U23 road race championships.

Last year was his final one with Adria, the rider signing for German Pro Continental squad NetApp on the 31st of August

His palmares for the year included a win in the Porec Trophy in Croatia, a stage win in the Tour of Gallipoli in Turkey and 11th on GC in the Circuit de la Sarthe.

As part of NetApp’s higher level programme for 2012 he’s placed 21st in the Ronde van Drenthe, 26th in Nokere Koerse, 28th in the Scheldeprijs, and on Sunday, 70th at 13:05 in the ‘Hell of the North.’ The young rider talked about the sport from his perspective.

VeloNation: How did you feel today, Blaz?

Blaz Jarc: I feel OK, my hands and knuckles in particular are sore and so is the area where I sit on my chamois – I think ‘appropriately tired’ is what you would say.

VN: Will you get a bike ride in today?

BJ: I don’t think so; I’ve been travelling home.

I’ve been away from Slovenia for two months, so I’m pretty excited to be going home.

VN: How did it feel sitting on the start line yesterday?

BJ: I felt a little anxiety because it’s a race you have to focus on all the time – it cuts you no slack.

During the race you have to keep motivating yourself, tell yourself to keep going, keep going.

Our job was to get in the early break, we tried really hard and eventually we got Grischa Janorschke in the break, but unfortunately he crashed in Arenberg

I was caught in the split when there was a big crash around thirty kilometres before Arenberg. That left a lot of catching up to do but we got back about ten kilometres before Arenberg.

It was an intensely hard day – full gas all the way.

VN: The first two hours were at 48kph…

BJ: A lot of people wanted to get in the break so it was very fast to start with.

You get the publicity and the TV time – but not just that, when you’re in the break you don’t constantly have to fight for position.

And there’s always the chance that you’ll get caught by a group of 30 or 40 at maybe 220 K so there’ll be a lot less crashes.

All in all it’s much easier in the break – but ‘easier’ is a relative term!

VN: What was the hardest part of your day?

Blaz JarcBJ: The sector after Arenberg, where I got dropped – when the tank is empty but you have to keep going and try to hang on, that’s the hardest.

VN: And you managed to avoid the crashes?

BJ: I guess I should knock on wood for that, I was really lucky.

I got held up but didn’t come down, no.

VN: How’s Grischa after his crash?

BJ: We think there’s nothing broken, they think but he has very little mobility in his hands and elbow.

It’s been a hard time for Grischa, he’s crashed in all of his last three races.

VN: Have you had much experience on the pave?

BJ: Not so much, but I did ride the U23 Tour of Flanders.

This is my first season riding a programme of the northern races so I’ve learned a lot – I gain experience in every race.

VN: No problems with the bike?

BJ: No, we have good equipment and I had no technical problems at all.

We rode our normal Simplon bikes but with 27mm Veloflex tubs at six bars – much lower than usual, some of the guys ride them at five.

I had my handlebars double taped, but apart from that it was just my usual bike.

VN: Eating and drinking must be difficult?

BJ: Yeah, very difficult and it’s always dangerous – you have to use every spare second to drink and stick a bar in your mouth, when you can.

Hydration is so important and you have to constantly remind yourself to drink, when you can.

VN: It must be a nice feeling to ride in to the velodrome?

BJ: It’s a great feeling; as a little boy I used to sit in front of the TV and watch the riders coming in to the track – and yesterday it was me riding on to the track.

The fans are screaming for you – it gave me goose bumps.

VN: What about Boonen?

BJ: Super strong – chapeau!

He’s the best, maybe Cancellara is at the same level but at the moment, Boonen and his team are really strong.

VN: You warmed up for Roubaix with 28th in the Scheldeprijs…

BJ: I managed to avoid the big crash but I didn’t feel so good.

It was only three or four days after Flanders but I managed to make the front group – it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great.

VN: Will you be in the NetApp team for the Giro?

BJ: That hasn’t been settled yet.

I have the Tour of Turkey and Bayern Rundfahrt, so at the moment it’s only a small chance for the Giro.

But things happen in cycling – sickness, crashes . . .

VN: Paris-Roubaix…horrible or beautiful?

BJ: Yesterday, during the race I was thinking to myself; ‘I love this race and want to ride it again!’

It’s really hard, it’s full of stress, you use up all of your adrenalin and finish totally drained – but I love it...


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