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"Time passes very quickly in cycling. I am 36 years old and last year no one saw me work for a leader in a grand tour. People lose confidence very quickly."

Photo: Sirotti




06.11.2014 @ 17:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The professional cycling is not showing mercy to anyone no matter how great your palmares are. That is the brutal reality for Sylwester Szmyd  who has been an excellent domestique for riders like Marco Pantani, Ivan Basso, Gilberto Simoni, Damiano Cunego and Vincenzo Nibali.


A brilliant climber, Szmyd has started 22 grand tours in his career and has finished in the top 10 in one-week races like the Tour de Romandie, Giro del Trentino and Tour de Pologne.


After making a change of scenery two years ago when he left Liquihas to join Movistar, the Pole has been unable to reach his former level.


"I do not regret having left Italy. [Movistar manager Eusebio] Unzue was always my dream and i am glad I was able to realize it," he says in an interview with Ciclismo Internacional.



It is evident that in the last two years Szmyd has been a shadow of the robot who created the selection in the mountains of the Giro. The Pole himself accepts that.


"In every way, those were two difficult years," he says. "Firstly, the team was very different from my previous ones and it took me a long time to change the mentality and style of teamwork. "Furthermore, my health wasn't helpul because I had problems with mononucleosis and toxoplasmosis in 2013. That did not help me at all."


Szmyd has a mixed feeling of pain and resignation.


"They didn't extend my contract and gave me no explanation but honestly I didn't perform like I wanted. That is clear," he says.


"I didn't go as I wanted nor as the team wanted but at the same time, I had prepared a big ride at the 2013 Tour de France and this year's Giro for months. There I could have proved my worth in my terrain, the mountains where I have always performed well," the former Liquigas, Lampre, Saeco, Tacconi and Mercatone rider says.



Despite a vast experience and flawless domestique work, Szmyd is on the verge of retirement and even his managers on previous teams have not lend him a hand.


"Time passes very quickly in cycling. I am 36 years old and last year no one saw me work for a leader in a grand tour. People lose confidence very quickly."


" Yes, I want to keep riding. I like cycling and the sacrifices that are involed," he adds. But at the same time, he has started to think about what he will do if he is unable to find a new team.


"If I retire, I will first take some time off and then I will se how I can stay in cycling and be able to pass my experience to younger riders."


With no offers, it must be stressed that the season was not completely negative. Szmyd was at his best in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon where he finished 3rd, proving that he deserved to go to the Giro.


"Yes, in Castilla y Leon I did well because I came from a very long period of preparation for the Giro. I rode to find race pace for Romandie and Trentino and then it was normal to be strong," he says.


Having missed out on Giro selection, he hopes to be chosen for the Tour but again he missed out, closing perhaps at that point his link with Movistar.


"Unfortunately I crashed in the Dauphine Libere and I admit that my mental state didn't help me. I didn't ride any grand tours, something I needed. For the Giro and the Tour, Eusebio had doubts about my preparation. Is it just? I don't know . There was no room for me but it was no surprise. There are many strong Movistar riders and it is not easy to get selected without being as strong as in the past," he says.


With 2014 coming to an end, he wants to stay in the business no matter where, but of course he has some preferences:


"I would like to keep riding in Italy or Poland," he says.


Finally and to dispel rumors of negative situations, Szmyd talks about his relationship with his team manager.


"My relationship with Unzué is good, I think. Surely I am a little disappointed, of course, but I always reply to his messages. I'm sorry too, but our story ends here."



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