ROAD magazine September 2013 : Page 35
How has it been racing for TIBCO this season? Racing for TIBCO this year has been great. We are very fortunate to be racing a complete calendar of races both in the U.S. and in Europe. I have also raced in Qatar, China and Canada. I am very happy with the team. We have an incredible sta , many talented riders, and a lot of potential to continue building the program and the team for the next four years. I am grateful for the opportunity that Linda Jackson [Team Owner and Founder] has given me to ride for this team. Was the Nature Valley Grand Prix a main priority for you this season? e NVGP was not one of my main priorities for this season, but it is de nitely one of my favorite races and I always look forward to competing in Minnesota. e NVGP is just less than two weeks before the women’s Giro d’ Italia this year, and I was using the challenging ve-day stage race as preparation for the race in Italy. However, our team’s main priority for the season is to win the NRC Overall Team Classi cation, so every NRC race that I enter is very important to me. I wanted to do my best in the NVGP to help the team toward its goal. What was your strategy leading into the event and how did it change from stage to stage? Our strategy leading into the event was to win the overall. We knew that we had a couple of di erent riders in the team who could do that, so we took it one day at a time and positioned ourselves strategically every day to keep moving closer to the lead in GC. Our team’s objectives every day were to gain time wherever we could, and never lose time to our GC contenders. e strategy didn’t change much from day to day. We just stayed focused on the goal, knowing that in the last two stages the real race would begin. What were some of the key moments throughout the event? I believe that the key moments in the race for us were just every time that we gained time on the competition, like in bonus sprints in the crits, in the nal sprints, and when there were gaps between riders in the sprint nishes. For me, the team really showed a lot of poise and con dence, always knowing that the race was not over until the last day. I have a picture of my whole team lined up in front of me in the Minneapolis crit, and it brings chills when I look at it. It’s so cool seeing a whole team unite for one goal. We may not have won the stage that day, but we were safe, together, and that day we moved closer to the overall. Every time we did that, we set ourselves up to win the tour on the last day. What stage stands out as the most memorable? e most memorable stage for me is of course the last stage, because my teammate Claudia bridged across solo to the breakaway and won the stage; my other teammate Jo was second right behind her, and we won the overall GC, Team, and Climber’s Competition. When we didn’t have the lead in any of these competitions, but we took them all on the last stage, it just felt really good. e whole stage, I really felt like we were in control. And even though I had pressure on my shoulders to take the two seconds I needed to win the tour, I really didn’t feel it. On the sidelines I had my coach, Manel Lacambra, giving me all the info I needed. Linda Jackson had own in from California to see us race the night before, and we really felt her support. In the race, I always had my teammates close to me, supporting me, giving me con dence just by being there. Early in the race, we put pressure on Optum to chase by sending Jo Kiesanowski up the road. And when my director knew that I was comfortable in the bunch, he sent Claudia up the road to win the Stage. Everything went perfectly as planned, and I never would have let my teammates down in the nal after all they did for me in the race. You had a great battle throughout the event with Jade Wilcoxson. Can you describe that challenge? e battle throughout the event was really between Optum and TIBCO, not between Jade and I. I believe that among their team, they had several options to win the overall, and we were the same. Up until the very last day, I was not the only option to win the tour. It was a great battle between two really talented teams. In the end, I believe we won tactically and by conserving all of our energy for the last two stages. We always knew that the race would happen on the last two days, and we were always ready for that. Can you describe the overall atmosphere of the NVGP? There’s a reason why I will make every effort to race the Nature Valley Grand Prix every year, and that’s because of the people in Minnesota. Since I started racing there maybe five years ago, I have made so many friends and fans who have continued to support me year after year. The emails and messages I received from many of these people before, during, and after the Olympic Games, were incredible. I just can’t thank the people of Minnesota enough. David Laporte does an incredible job of organizing this race every year. I am so grateful for his hard work and all of the race organizers and volunteers who sacrifice so much of their time to give us this incredible event. The race is exciting, challenging, and diverse as far as what types of events it offers. There are crits, hill-top finishes, time-trials, and hilly and flat road stages that are some of the longest on the calendar all year. It really suits so many different styles of riders also. We have seen time-trialists, climbers, sprinters, and all-arounders win this tour. This is one of the best things about the NVGP. You never can predict who the winner will be. Your team rode phenomenally as well, taking the last two stages, the team competition and the QOM. How important were they in your overall victory? My team was amazing in the NVGP. One of the key things in our team is that no victory is an individual victory. Every win is a team win. So, I may have put on the yellow jersey on the last day, but I was more proud that my whole team was able to come up on the podium with me to celebrate the Team Overall Classi cation Win. We really did win this tour as a team. Without the work of every rider, every day, I never would have been able to pull o the win. What are some of your other goals this season? Looking forward at the rest of the season, I would like to win a stage of the Giro d’ Italia, and nish o the season in Europe doing well in the UCI races at the end of the year. I believe that we can win the NRC Overall Team Classi cation, and I am looking forward to doing my part to make that happen in the nal NRC races of the year.