Borut Bozic Interview: After quiet 2012, Slovenian is ambitious with Astana
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Monday, March 04, 2013

Borut Bozic Interview: After quiet 2012, Slovenian is ambitious with Astana

by Ed Hood at 6:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
 
Strong placings in Oman and Paris-Nice suggest a return to form

Borut BozicPlacing a fine eighth in yesterday’s prologue of Paris-Nice, Borut Bozic will head into today’s stage of the race knowing that he is within shout of the leader’s yellow jersey. The Slovenian rider is just three seconds behind Damien Gaudin (Team Europcar) and, being a strong sprinter, could take over a the top if things go to plan.

Bozic had a quiet 2012 season but is showing different form this year, with fifth on stage six of the Tour of Oman also indicating that he has turned things around.

It was back in 2009 when Borut Bozic really announced his arrival as a fast man, out dragging established ‘finisseurs’ Tyler Farrar and Daniele Bennati to take stage six of the 2009 Vuelta.

But the man from Ljubjana was winning sprints before that.

In the colours of Slovenian Continental team Perutnina Ptuj he took stages in the 2004 Tour de Slovenie and a year later a stage in the Tour de l’Avenir.

But 2006 was the breakthrough year with three stages in the Vuelta a Cuba, two stages in the Olympia Tour of Holland and a stage in the Circuit des Ardennes.

For 2007 he moved to Swiss pro team LPR taking the overall in the Tour de la Region Wallonne and a stage in the Tour of Ireland.

With Collstrop for 2008 there were stages in the Etoile de Besseges and Ruta del Sol and the Slovenian National Championship.

Vacansoleil was the name on the jersey for the next three seasons and 2009 was a good year with two stages in the Tour of Belgium and stages in the Tours of Poland, Limousin and Spain.

There were two stages in the Etoile des Besseges in 2010 and a Tour of Britain stage; with 2011 yielding a Tour of Switzerland stage and a top ten in the Worlds.

Last season saw a change not just in teams but in cultures, from Vacansoleil’s ‘big family’ to the somewhat sterner ranks of Astana.

Although there were top ten finishes in the likes of GP Plouay, Pino Cerami and Hamburg, there was only one win, in the Slovenian National Championships.

As Bozic states in the interview below, he believes he understands why his season wasn’t as good as expected. He’s determined that 2013 will be much better and, after the aforementioned strong results in the Tour of Oman and in yesterday’s prologue of Paris-Nice, he seems to be back on track.

VeloNation: Season 2012 was a long one for you, Borut…

Borut Bozic: Yes, I raced from the Tour Down Under in January through to the Piemonte, just before Lombardia in October.

It wasn’t such a good season and I’m hoping for better this year – I’ve rested more this year.

Borut BozicVN: You had a lot of top ten places but just one win.

BB: I can’t say it was all down to tiredness; there were a lot of factors which stressed me – a new team, new people . . .

And I made a mistake; I think I trained a little bit too much before Australia – I wanted to start well with my new team, make a good impression.

VN: Vacansoleil to Astana, that’s quite a jump.

BB: For sure!

A big jump; I was with Vacansoleil for three years, I knew each other really well, but Astana is a totally different team in all respects.

But this is my second year and I’m hoping to learn from what I did wrong last winter and move on.

VN: What’s the team language?

BB: Most of the time it’s Italian, there are a lot more Italians on the team this year with Agnoli, Aru, Gasparotto, Nibali and the rest.

But at the training camp in Sardinia there was a lot more English spoken.

And of course there’s an English speaker on the team, the American rider Evan Huffman, he’s a quiet person but was looking in good shape at the training camps.

VN: Have you been to the city of Astana?

BB: Yes, I was there for the team launch in December.

It’s an impressive place with huge buildings everywhere – very beautiful but very, very cold.

VN: And how is ‘Vino’ the manager compared to Vino the rider?

BB: For me there’s not a big difference, I respect him as a rider and as a man.

VN: What sort of work were you doing at the training camps?

BB: Mostly on the bike with a little gym work – we were been doing runs of between four and six hours.

We had to push hard for fitness going in to Qatar, so the runs were hard; with interval training included most days.

VN: Do you do specialist sprint drills?

BB: Sure, all sprinters do, every second day I fit in routines designed to improve my sprint.

I’ve been using SRM’s to monitor my performance and this year I’m going better than last.

During my whole career I’ve never felt good in January and February; maybe it’s the cold winter weather?

But this year I’ve been going much better in those months and the SRM’s confirm that - but figures and talk aren’t what count – it’s what happens when you start to race that matters

VN: After Qatar and Oman, how’s your programme?

BB: I ride Paris-Nice, the first part of the Spring Classics, including Milan-Sanremo and if I go well then I’ll be in Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Flanders and Roubaix.

For me it’s a very good programme, I’m very happy with it.

Borut BozicVN: It’s your tenth season as a professional - is the motivation still strong?

BB: Yes, I’m still very motivated although I didn’t show in 2012. I never think to myself that I don’t want to go out and do my training.

VN: Do you vary your training as the years pass?

BB: I changed a lot of things over this last winter; I didn’t find myself in 2012 so my trainer and I made changes for my December and January preparation this year.

VN: Which are your favourite races?

BB: I want to show in Paris-Nice and I want to have a good Classic season.

I don’t want to say too much but Gent-Wevelgem is a race which I can do well in . . .

VN: How were the Olympics for you?

BB: Very special on a very good parcours; but like a lot of riders I made the big mistake of waiting for GB to bring the break back – which, of course, they never did.

It wasn’t a great success for me but it was a great day for Astana and ‘Vino.’

VN: Lance, Rasmussen, Puerto . .

BB: Yes, right now it’s a big problem for cycling, although I do think that it gets talked about too much.

To tell the truth, I don’t read much about it, this is 2013, not 2000 and we should be looking ahead.

VN: What do you want from 2013?

BB: My first goal is to have a good spring Classics campaign – and I won’t be happy with just one win in the first part of the season.

But to tell the truth, I don’t want to think about it too much, I just want to go out and race!

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