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“The past year this team started to break out of the mold of how we were racing in the previous few years. I think this actually bodes well for us, moving on from Cadel’s departure."

Photo: Sirotti




01.03.2015 @ 15:53 Posted by Joseph Doherty

During the winter break, BMC duo Brent Bookwalter, the longest serving member on the team, and Peter Stetina, sat down with PEZ Cycling to discuss the team and American cycling in general.


With riders like Thor Hushovd, Cadel Evans and Martin Kohler leaving the team in the offseason, all three with great experience and many years spent riding with the team, Bookwalter was asked to assess the changes in the team.


“I think across the board the team changed a little bit from 2014 to 2015, we have a few new faces. My history with this team; this will be my eighth season, some years it feels like it doesn’t changed at all and the other years you feel like they are growth years where you kind of switch gears and get some fresh faces in, switch up the program and this is one of those years. Obviously with the departure of Cadel and we have a new set of riders. The young guys are really exciting and bring a lot of youth and enthusiasm in. And the other guys like Caruso and Di Marchi are established and proven and approaching the veteran status, they bring a lot of clout to the team.”


“I think I fit in the same way I always have. I have ambitions to grow into a more prominent role in the team. I’m 30 years old now, I’ve done six Grand Tours, I’ve been through a lot with the team and they know they can count on me in a versatile skill set, I’m happy that I can fulfill that role. I keep developing on my own as well, I’m more aware now of what my own capabilities are and I’m still getting better. I have a lot more in me and I’m getting better every year and I’m excited to show that to the team and give them everything I have.”


Both riders talked about the team adopting a more aggressive racing style in 2015, with Bookwalter hoping to get more chances to ride for himself after spending many miles on the front of the bunch as a domestique, and Stetina looks forward to leading BMC at the Tour of California for another edition.


“The past year or two this team started to break out of the mold of how we were racing in the previous few years. I think having already started to race in this new style, a more aggressive style, actually bodes well for us, moving on from Cadel’s departure. When you have a guy like him, you have full confidence that he can deliver and he is going to be one of the best, so you line it up, you sort of ride defensively and you know he’s going to throw the big bomb in at the end. So yeah, without him it opens it up, we have already began racing this way and that gives more guy’s opportunities. I think a lot of different guys over the past two seasons have won races. Some guys like myself and Mickey Schär, we got the first wins of our pro careers in the past years. That’s kind of due to our broadening our mentality and opening up our eyes to different opportunities for a lot of different riders,” Bookwalter said.


Stetina said that the Tour of California course is much better suited to climbers lie, him in 2015 than it was in 2014, where the time trial favoured eventual winner Bradley Wiggins.


“After the Tour Down Under and being part of Cadel’s good-bye squad, I will be heading into Europe for a lot of the spring races. Those are yet to be decided, there are a handful of races. Being the Californian on the team I get looking forward to that (the Tour of California), that gets to be my big goal again for the year and try to better that and it sounds like the course is more climber friendly, compared to last year which was more for the time trial specialist.”


Bookwalter doesn’t have any specific race he’d like to target in 2015, but he would like to make a return to the Tour de France, having helped Cadel Evans win the race in 2011 and has fond memories of it.


“I don’t have a clear objective and I don’t have a home state race, unfortunately. I live in North Carolina now, in Asheville, so it would be nice to see the Tour of Georgia come back, going even further back; Tour DuPont, that’s were I live basically, Tour DuPont country. But without those I’d really like to go to the Tour again, last year I did the Giro with Cadel. Tejay and I have a good relationship and I’ve proven I can be a good teammate at the Tour before, so I’d love to go back there. But that said the roster at this team is really stacked and they need guys to do the Giro and Vuelta too. They know and I know that part of my value for this team is going where they need me and I’m a guy they can put in a lot of different places. Right now I’m focusing on the early season, the first few races, and getting going and my experience has taught me that the rest will sort its self out.”


Stetina rode his debut Tour this year, helping Tejay van Garderen to fifth place on the GC, where he learned just how stressful the world’s biggest race can be.


“I got to learn how to deal with the stress a lot better. That is just the Tour and I realize that, at the end of the day it’s the same players, it’s the same guys doing the Giro or the Tour and it’s the same Watts per kilo and all that, but I think the Tour is a whole other animal because you have this stress factor and you have these guys that are all… the tactics all go out the window because all the TV cameras in the World are watching. There will be a guy who will attack when he has no hope and when it makes no tactical sense what so ever, but he will still attack to be on the TV for 15 minutes and everyone will see it and if you are chasing you still have to bring him back, even though he knows he is going for a kamikaze move. So you mix that with everybody riding that two inches closer together in the bunch and that’s when you have crashes start happening. There was a lot of time when all of us were actually just scared riding in the bunch and you are wondering why you do it, but then when you finish you want to do it again. It’s this love/hate relationship, it’s a lot of fun and I can’t believe I’m saying this… but I want to do it again even though I will hate July.”




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