Jesse Sergent Interview: Winning his first professional race and going to the Olympic Games
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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Jesse Sergent Interview: Winning his first professional race and going to the Olympic Games

by Xylon van Eyck at 6:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
 
New Zealander hoping to make it to the London Olympics

Jesse SergentJesse Sergent has had a successful debut season in the professional cycling ranks. The New Zealander signed for Team RadioShack this year and didn’t take long to impress, taking out the opening stage and overall victory at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen in March.

In an interview with VeloNation this week, Sergent described the jump to the professional level as a big step up but appreciated the guidance from the directors and senior riders on the team.

“I didn't really expect to get a win so early but already at training camp some of the guys were saying to me that I could win the prologue at West Flanders,” he said.

“So I started to get it into my head, after finishing fourth in the Algarve TT it gave me a boost and I then focused on getting a good result at three days of West Flanders.”

When asked to describe the victory he said that it was a case of taking things step by step. “I was focused on doing a good prologue first and I had a good ride and won, then came questions about winning the tour,” he explained. “I hadn't really thought past the prologue and didn't know what to say.

“With the strong team we had there and Dirk Demol directing us I couldn't have asked for anything more. The whole team had confidence in me and if it wasn't for them helping me nothing would have happened. It was a big team effort and in the end it was a Radioshack 1-2-3,” he added with excitement.

“I was stoked to be able to win the tour as well as the prologue and it was cool to know that Dirk had also won the same race in 1988 which is the year I was born. One thing I love about the racing in Europe is the strong history all the races have its amazing.”

Sergent is a time trial specialist and was part of the team pursuit that won the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics. He again has the Olympic Games next year in his sights and describes it as a big goal; however, he doesn’t take being part of a World Tour team as a given that he’ll be selected for his national team.

“Nothing is taken for granted. There's selection criteria that has to be met. At the moment we have eleven riders all with plans of riding the team pursuit at the Olympics so there's a few stepping stones to get there. But we have the riders to do what it takes to be very competitive in London.”

Sergent is currently one of five Kiwi riders riding at the highest level of the sport. He believes there’s a lot more opportunities for New Zealanders to get to Europe, but maintains it’s no easy task. His personal pathway was being based in America for two years with Team RadioShack’s under 23 feeder team Trek-Livestrong, before making the switch to Europe.

“It was an awesome two years,” he added. “I developed a lot with the help of Axel Merckx and the support from the team and then followed through to Team Radioshack which has been a good transition.”

The 23 year old will now look to finish the season as strong as he started it. He hasn’t finished an individual time trial outside of the top five this season - a great record he’ll look to maintain as he rounds out his debut professional season.

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