Andy Fenn Interview: So far, so good for promising young Briton
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Andy Fenn Interview: So far, so good for promising young Briton

by Ed Hood at 7:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
Omega Pharma Quick Step rider on first WorldTour season

Andy FennLast week was a very good one for Omega-Pharma QuickStep’s 22 year-old Briton, Andy Fenn. The Belgian ‘super team’ renewed his contract for 2013 and he enjoyed a good week at the Tour of Denmark; taking second and fourth on stages as well as the ‘best young rider’ award.

Despite his youth, Fenn has been in the sport a long time - winning his first British title at just 10 years old and then a clutch of British U16 track titles.

As a junior in 2008 he added to his collection of British medals on road and track; but more significantly he took European junior titles in the pursuit and team pursuit.

The same year he won the junior version of Paris – Roubaix and in 2010 became British U23 road champion on a savage course around Pendle.

He was one of the animators of the 2011 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne for An Post – having signed for the Irish/Belgian squad over the winter.

In addition to his win in a stage of the Tour de Bretagne and the Memorial Philippe Van Coningsloo, he picked up fifth in the U23 Paris-Roubaix.

He ended the season perfectly with third spot in the U23 world road race championship in Copenhagen.

This season, with the coveted jersey of Omega Pharma QuickStep on his back, he hit the ground running with wins the in the early season Trofeo Mallorca and Trofeo Migjorn in Majorca.

He recently took his third win of the season in the team time trial at the Tour de l’Ain.

VeloNation caught up with Fenn just after that win and prior to his good week in Denmark.

VeloNation: How does QuickStep compare to An Post, Andy?

Andy Fenn: The racing’s not too different; we had a good programme with An Post.

But the team’s much bigger and not as close knit as An Post; there are riders on the squad whom I’ve never raced with – Levi Leipheimer for instance, and there’s staff who I’ve never worked with.

VN: You got 2012 off to a flying start in Majorca.

AF: I wanted to make an impression, show that I was disciplined and that getting the contract was just the start.

I started my season well but mid season I picked up an injury and had to have a period of recovery.

VN: You were close to a win in the Tour of Turkey...

AF: At QuickStep there are always different fast guys you have to work for – Chicchi, Steegmans, Ciolek . .

I get my opportunities where they work for me; there are a lot of quick guys – but it’s a great learning experience for me.

Andy FennVN: Tell us about the TTT win at the Tour de l’Ain.

AF: It was my first TTT; I did it on my road bike.

We did a couple of laps try out but we were actually pretty smooth in the race – we went flat out for the win.

We had guys like Rabon in the team, who’s been with HTC – and guys like Cataldo who are really strong.

VN: Why do you think 2012 has been so good for the team?

AF: A lot of the main guys had bad luck, last year – Chava, Tom Boonen and Niki Terpstra were all involved in crashes.

This year we’ve had good luck, there are new DS’s and new equipment.

Obviously, I wasn’t with the team last but the guys are saying that the training camps are harder this year than they were last year – there’s fresh motivation in the team.

VN: Are you based in Belgium?

AF: Yes, and I’m not far from the Training Centre which QuickStep are setting up at Leuven.

It’ll be completed by the start of next year; it’s along the lines of the Mapei Centre.

There’s a gym there and they have a strength coach, it’s really good and I tap into that.

I live with An Post’s Mark McNally, we train together and Dan McLay isn’t far away – there are always a few Brits to go out training with.

VN: Being on QuickStep must be close to being a film star in Flanders?

AF: QuickStep is a good thing to be part of; I’m very happy that it’s worked out well.

VN: People are saying that the continental teams are becoming more ‘Anglo’ in their approach?

AF: I think that’s true. I wasn’t on the team last year but the guys are saying that there’s more focus on equipment for example and we all train with power meters - every detail is looked at.

I can’t say what the team used to be like but now there’s nothing over looked – core fitness, nutrition . . .

VN: It must be hard to make the team for some races?

AF: I’d like to have ridden Roubaix but the Classic team is so strong. But my chances will come, for me and for young riders like Matteo Trentin.

VN: You’ve had some good results in the pro kermises; third at Melle and Houtem for instance.

AF: I rode those after my injury; the team felt it was best that I came back through the kermises.

Andy Fenn There’s nowhere else in the world you can get racing like that; three or four hours of good work – it’s a great way to fill gaps in your race schedule.

VN: Did Belgium embrace the Olympics?

AF: We watched the road race; there were a lot of QuickStep guys in there - on their Specialized all sprayed up for the occasion – and others who were disappointed because they didn’t make it.

And it wasn’t just riders; there were mechanics and soigneurs very keen to sample the Olympic experience.

VN: We have to ask – is Cav coming on board?

AF: I haven’t heard anything from the team – but obviously I’ve heard rumours.

I really don’t know what’s going to happen – I know that the team was interested in him last year, but every team is interested in him!

VN: What does the rest of the season hold?

AF: I have the Tour of Denmark, the Franco Belge and one day races in Belgium – Leuven and Zottegem.

I may be going to the Chinese races – and my name is in the hat for the Worlds.


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