Lucas Euser: “I’m a little bit disappointed but, then again, it’s still early in the season.”
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lucas Euser: “I’m a little bit disappointed but, then again, it’s still early in the season.”

by Ben Atkins at 9:11 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Tour de Langkawi
 
UnitedHealthcare climber looking ahead to the big US races after Genting Highlands stage

Lucas EuserLucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) was looking to better his performance from the 2009 edition of the Tour de Langkawi, when - as a Garmin-Slipstream rider - he finished ninth on the tough stage to the top of Genting Highlands. That performance went on to earn him an overall placing of eighth overall but, as eventual stage winner Julian Arredondo (Nippo-De Rosa) accelerated close in the final kilometres of this year’s climb, the 29-year-old American was forced to let him go.

“It was a bitch,” Euser smiled, as he spoke to VeloNation after the stage. "I was there in the middle - I made it through the middle and the descent - then, when the Nippo guy went, I started cramping a little bit and rode my own pace. I don’t know, top 15 maybe, I’m a little bit disappointed but, then again, it’s still early in the season.”

The UnitedHealthcare team had been well positioned for most of the early kilometres of the mountain, and was even seen right at the front as the steep - officially classified - 9.5km part approached. This was more to do with the team’s attentiveness on such a decisive stage, however, rather than a desire to chase down Orica-GreenEdge rider Travis Meyer, the lone leader at the time.

“We were just in a good position. At the very start of the climb we shot up and over on the descent. So, yeah, at the very bottom with 20km to go we came around that roundabout on the front just because it got out of position; we weren’t chasing or anything.”

Euser finished the stage in 18th place, conceding four minutes and one second to the Colombian climber and, with four stages to go, sits 19th overall. Despite being a little disappointed with the result, however, the American is consoled by the fact that his main targets for 2013 lie much later in the year.

“I think with being on an American ProContinental team my objectives lie a little later in the season, and that was always the plan,” he explained. “With California this year there’s a lot of big climbs; in the first three days there’s 30,000 feet of climbing. We’re going up Mount Diablo, which is equally - well, maybe not as hard as this - but pretty damn close.

“And drier for sure!” he joked. “It’s another 15km climb to the top.”

After the Tour of California there will be two further major stage races in the US calendar, and these promise to provide even more tough climbing, with most stages taking place in altitude of the American Rockies.

“Then with the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in August…” Euser continued. “That said, you can’t give up opportunities like this; I just didn’t have it 100% today, but it’s definitely coming around.”

With little climbing in the second half of the Tour de Langkawi, there are few opportunities for the overall contenders to make a difference to the general classification. There was an attempt from a number of the top riders, in the closing kilometres of the sixth stage, to put pressure on Arredondo’s team, but Euser concedes that the battle for the race overall is largely finished.

“GC [is over] yeah, I guess so,” he shrugged. “The rest of the stages are flat. There’s two GC days here, and eight opportunities for the sprinters, but it’ll be interesting for sure.”

After the Tour de Langkawi, Euser and the UnitedHealthcare team will race at the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali, in the Italian coastal region of Emilia Romangna, between March 20th and 24th.

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