Lieuwe Westra Interview: Tour of Denmark winner speaks about superb season
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Friday, August 31, 2012

Lieuwe Westra Interview: Tour of Denmark winner speaks about superb season

by Ed Hood at 9:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
 
“I rode the best time trial of my life”

Lieuwe WestraAfter a string of second places in stage races during 2012 - Paris-Nice, the Three days of De Panne and the Tour of Belgium - Vacansoleil-DCM's 'chrono man' Lieuwe Westra finally hit the jackpot in the Tour of Denmark.

Going in to the penultimate stage time trial with a deficit on race leader, Lars-Peter Nordhaug of Sky, he had ambitions of the stage win, but a top quality ride gave the Dutchman both the chrono and GC triumphs.

“I went into the time trial thinking that I could win the stage and maybe make the GC podium; I didn't go in thinking that I could win overall,” he told VeloNation. “There were some good guys - Rogers for instance - very close to me.

“But the distance was perfect for me - 14.8 kilometres, I like time trials of 15 to 20 K, that's ideal for me.”

Westra's career began riding for the KrolStone Continental team from 2006 through until 2008.

A second place on GC in the super-fast Olympia Tour and a stage win the Tour of Alsace gained him a contract with Vacansoleil, with whom he's ridden since 2009.

In his first pro year he won the Omloop Ablasserwaard and took a stage on the way to overall victory in the Tour of Picardie.

In 2010 his best results were fifth in the Three Days of De Panne and third in the Chrono Herbiers.

Last season, he moved up to second place in De Panne, was third in the Tour of the Algarve, won the Classique Loire-Atlantique and took a stage in the Tour of Belgium.

This season, as well as his string of stage race second places, Westra won The Netherlands elite time trial championships after years of trying and took a stage on his way to his runner-up spot on GC at Paris-Nice.

We caught up with him just days after his Scandinavian triumph.

VeloNation: A stage race win at last, Lieuwe….

Lieuwe Westra: Yes, I've had a lot of second places, so to finally win was great for me and for the team - they did an excellent job for me.

VN: Paris-Nice went well for you with second overall behind Bradley Wiggins…

LW: That was my first goal for the year and I had unbelievable condition.

After Paris-Nice the form was not so good, but I was in great shape going in to Denmark - I rode the best time trial of my life there.

VN: And it must have been satisfying to win the time trial nationals?

LW: For sure, I thought that I could win.

I've been second, third and fourth, so it's nice to finally get to wear the champion's skinsuit.

VN: Yet the Tour de France wasn't so good for you?

LW: I had good condition for the Tour but I crashed three times in the first week. The pain was too much in the mountains - it's shit, but there's more to your year than the Tour.

VN: Were you happy with how your Olympic Games went?

LW: Yeah, it was a good race for the Netherlands, I was in the break and it was a strong group.

We raced real hard to stop it from ending in a sprint finish and we achieved that goal - I was happy with the job we did.

In the time trial I was 11th, I hoped for top ten but I raced really hard in the road race before it.

Lieuwe WestraVN: Was the Tour of Denmark a goal, or 'just another race ?'

LW: Stage races of four or five days are perfect for me, Denmark was ideal - three sprint days, a hilly day and a time trial.

I went into the time trial thinking that I could win the stage and maybe make the GC podium; I didn't go in thinking that I could win overall. There were some good guys - Rogers for instance - very close to me.

But the distance was perfect for me - 14.8 kilometres, I like time trials of 15 to 20 K, that's ideal for me.

VN: Was the last stage a tough one to control?

LW: No, there was a tail wind, it was really fast and Sky wanted a sprint for Cavendish, so they helped us to control things right from the start. It wasn't dangerous at all for us.

VN: You must be thinking about the Worlds TT ?

LW: I know the parcours and for me they're perfect; not flat and with a few climbs. But I'm waiting on the telephone to ring and the selectors to say I'm riding before I start specific preparation.

I did a good job in Denmark but like I said; I'm waiting on that phone call !

VN: Do you manage much specialist training for time trials.

LW: I do a lot of training for the road and I'm probably best in time trials in short stage races.

But if I am preparing specially for a time trial then I do a lot of motor paced work. I get my girl friend on the scooter and go out behind her!

It's ideal in the Netherlands because where I live is totally flat - but the weather is not so good, if it's bad then I go to Spain to train.

VN: Do you ride time trials on watts or 'feel ?'

LW: No, no not on power, completely on feel - 'old style !'

VN: And what comes after the Worlds ?

LW: Good question! We'll see after the Worlds but I think I'll be in the Duo Normand and the Chrono des Nations.
 

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