Will Clarke Interview: Building towards first season with the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Will Clarke Interview: Building towards first season with the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project

by Ed Hood at 7:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Talented Australian ready to seize his chance

Will ClarkeSome riders spend half their careers trying to get that crucial first pro contract; others come along and less than three years after first putting a leg over a bike are riding for the World's number one ranked team.

Tasmanian Will Clarke was originally an athletics star but turned to cycling in 2007 to rehabilitate from injury.

The inevitable; 'I think I'll try racing' phase ensued and within one year he was winning major events on the Australian road calendar.

Within two years he was winning the GC in the Canberra Tour and the National Road Series.

This season saw the 25 year old perform strongly from his native Australia to Belgium via New Zealand and Taiwan.

A stagiaire place with AG2R didn't work out - but a contract with Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project certainly did.

On the eve of the team's first get together in Switzerland, Clarke took time to talk to VeloNation.

VeloNation: You were a runner originally, Will?

Will Clarke: Yes I was originally a runner, but I was involved in a lot of sports as a kid back in Tasmania. I did competitive swimming from age seven until I was 18 and played Australian rules football until I left school.

But I enjoyed Athletics the most; I did Little Athletics for a couple of years before taking it up more seriously as I became older. I was Tasmanian Champion over 800m one year and also was 3rd in Australian under 20 championships 800m.

VN: You've only been a cyclist since 2007?

WC: Yes, I was injured a lot from running; I had my leg in a cast and I couldn't move it properly. The only thing I could do was ride, which I really enjoyed. I soon took up racing locally in Tasmania, trained more and did about 6 months of riding in 2007, before having a full year riding in 2008.

VN: Tell us about the Praties team you were with…

WC: I Joined Praties in July 2008 after winning a few races back in Tasmania. Andrew Christie-Johnson and Steve Price, the owners, saw me riding at the races, and took me to the Gippsland NRS event.
I had a break through with them in September winning Goulburn to Citi, one of the biggest one day races in Australia.

The team (now Genesys Wealth Advisers/Praties Cycling Team) were great with me, they have been the biggest influence and supporters in my cycling - they have really helped me get where I am now.

VN: How would you describe yourself as a rider?

WC: I would say I am a strong rider…

VN: You had nine wins last year?

WC: I actually had 12, six In Australia and six in Belgium. I also went well at the Australian Nationals, 3rd in the crit, 4th in TT and 9th in RR.

VN: Did those results get you to the Commonwealth Games ?

No they didn't, I didn't get selected.

VN: You were stagiaire with AG2R…how did you get that gig and how was it ?

WC: Yes I stagiaired with AG2R; I got the ride through my manager Andrew McQuaid and the good results I got in Belgium in May and June. It was a really good experience; but I didn't get the results or go as well as I would have liked…I was a bit burnt out and AG2R didn't make me an offer.

VN: How did you meet Stuey [Stuart O’Grady] ?

WC: I met Stuey through my mate Richie Porte, who put me up at his place in Monaco while I trained and rode stagiaire. All the Aussies down there train together a lot, its great!

VN: He must have been impressed ?

WC: Ha ha - I'm not sure, I guess so, he's a good bloke.

VN: How did they make the offer to you ?

WC: Through my manager and I also talked to direct to Kim Andersen

VN: Have you met your team mates, yet ?

WC: I will today, we have the camp in Switzerland I got here on Saturday to get over the jet lag.

VN: Where will you be based ?

WC: Luxembourg, I reckon.

Do you know what your programme will be, yet ?

Not yet, hopefully I will start out at Tour Down Under in January, though.


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