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“The team wants to integrate me and for me to learn the system, that’s what it’s about."

Photo: Optum Pro Cycling






17.02.2015 @ 18:07 Posted by Steve Greer

Carter Jones began his first season in the top ranks Tuesday at the Tour of Oman, where his main focus will be to help Giant-Alpecin teammate Warren Barguil.

“I’m nervous,” Jones told VeloNews while changing next to the Bayt Al Naman’s castle.


“I haven’t raced since September, at the Bucks County Classic in the U.S., and now it hits me that every race I do this year is going to be at the same level as the biggest races I did last year, if not higher. This is the biggest race of my life so far, and it’s only February.”

Jones won the Tour of the Gila and placed eighth in the Amgen Tour of California to secure his place on the German WorldTeam. Along with star riders Warren Barguil, Marcel Kittel, and John Degenkolb, Jones also joined Americans Caleb Fairly, Chad Haga, and Lawson Craddock.


Jones previously raced for Bissell (2012-2013) and Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies (2014), both continental teams that race two levels below Giant-Alpecin.


“I’ve done the Tour of California the last three or four years, but it’s different over here,” Jones said. “It’s a deeper field than California or Colorado, where there’s a few top teams. Here, there’s everyone.”


The 25-year-old from Colorado will use the same climbing strength that won him Gila to support Barguil. The Frenchman won two Vuelta a España stages in 2013, and he placed eighth overall in last year’s race.


The Tour of Oman’s queen stage on Friday finishes on Green Mountain at 1,235 meters above sea level.


“That’s the important day where I need to be there with Warren. On the other days, I’ll help out in the sprints as much as I can,” explained Jones.


“The team wants to integrate me and for me to learn the system, that’s what it’s about. I’m here to support warren and see how things go in the sprints. I’m happy with that and not having any outside stress.”


The race pace should also greatly differ from anything Jones has previously experienced. The Tour of Oman, partly owned by cycling legend Eddy Merckx, lasts six days and covers 989 kilometers. This year, Merckx invited riders like Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), and Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha).




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