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“I never planned on being a cyclist. My parents were pretty big into academics, so I wanted to be a doctor, and then go into business. Cycling was just kind of a hobby, I guess."

Photo: BMC Racing Team (Continuum Sports, LLC)


17.04.2014 @ 20:06 Posted by Andy Pedersen

23-year old American Larry Warbasse of BMC Racing Team has become one of the helpers of his team, after making his debut last season. Velonews talked with the young American at the Tour de San Luis about how he started his career, his debut for BMC and his future.


Warbasse started his pro-career with the BMC Racing Team in Qatar in 2013. He was with the team for Tour of Qatar.


“It was awesome. It was kind of like a trial by fire with all the crosswinds. When I told everyone my first race was Qatar, they just laughed. But it was really good; we had a really good time — great squad, great group of guys. It helped with the cohesion.”


The American started racing when he was 13 years old, riding a mountain bike. He drove the mountain bike for two years before switching to road racing instead.


“I started mountain-bike racing when I was 13 and I switched to road when I was 15 or 16. I started racing with the national team when I was 17 and stayed with them until I was 22 — first with a junior national team, and then a U23 national team.”


After his strong performance on a time trial in Argentina, he was asked about which type of rider he sees himself as.


“I’m more of a GC kind of guy. Right now it’s more helping out in the mountains, and I can ride a good time trial. Usually I can climb pretty well, but unfortunately that didn’t come out [in San Luís], but I hope to show that in the next bit of races. In some of the races last year I was up there on the climbs. In Colorado [at the USA Pro Challenge], I was helping Tejay. I was also climbing pretty well at the Tour of Utah. I had a rough season last year — just adapting to life in Europe and everything like that. I lived in Italy, and I [moved] to Nice, France this year with Joe Dombrowski. With Taylor Phinney there, too, I think it will be easy to build a younger American community, which is necessary.”


Larry Warbasse hopes to ride his first GT this season and mentions the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. Also the home soil race Tour of California is important for him.


“Hopefully I’ll do my first grand tour. Whether it’s the Giro or the Vuelta, I’m not sure. That’s the main goal. I think one of the options would be to come back to Tour of California after a few WorldTour races.”


Warbasse thinks many of the WorldTour races fits him nicely and hopes that he can do well in them in the furture.


“A lot of the WorldTour stage races seem to fit my characteristics. I think one day I’ll be able to do well in them. Last year I struggled a bit, but it was a really good experience. I did Catalunya and the [Critérium du] Dauphiné, and I really, really suffered at Dauphiné. It was probably my worst time of the year — I was a bit over-trained and just struggled through every single day. I learned a lot there and it really helped me turn around the second half of the season. One day I’d love to do well at those races, and, some day, Paris-Nice. This year I’d like to be good at helping whoever our leaders are over multiple days in the mountains, and maybe have a good time trial for myself — or even an opportunity for a stage win. I just want to feel like I’m more part of the race this year. A lot of times last year I was barely in. In the second half of last year I started becoming part of the race, and that really helps raise the confidence.”


Warbasse left his studies after two semesters in order to become a full-time cyclist. The studying part was too hard for him and as he says: Why do something you don’t like, when you can do something you love?  


“I never planned on being a cyclist. My parents were pretty big into academics, so I wanted to be a doctor, and then go into business. Cycling was just kind of a hobby, I guess. I went to the University of Michigan, as it has a really good business program. I worked really hard, it’s a three-year program. I studied so hard, and still tried to train, running myself into the ground every day. The only thing I looked forward to was going to sleep, because it was the only time I wasn’t stressed. When I went to race with the national team in Europe, I just realized I loved what I was doing. Every day I was looking forward to waking up, couldn’t wait to get on my bike. I just lived for the sport. And it hit me: Why would I do something I didn’t like at all, when I could do something I loved? So right then and there, I decided to become a pro cyclist.”


When he was asked about his biggest result in his U23 days, he said it was a pretty consistent period.


“I was very consistent. In 2011 I had a couple of podiums, third in a stage in Nation’s Cup in Tuscany, fifth in the U23 Liége. And then seventh in some big stage races, fifth in the Tour of Berlin. I started talking to BMC and they decided I should do another year as a U23, so I went back to school in the fall of 2011, and then went to Europe, raced, and signed with BMC. And that was that.”


Even though Warbasse dropped his studies, his parents supported and is still supporting him in his cycling career.


“My junior year of college I took a semester off to see if I could do the cycling thing, and my parents flipped out. I told them I wasn’t asking for their permission, but for their support. They said they would support emotionally, but not financially. I ended up moving to Greenville [South Carolina] to train with George Hincapie in the winter of 2010-2011. I went over with the national team in March, and had quite a few good results. … I’ve been under the radar a bit, just because I’ve mostly raced in Europe; I’ve never done any [National Racing Calendar] stuff. So I’ve taken a different path than the other guys. Now my parents think it’s cool, they came over to Europe [in 2013] to see me, and see Catalunya, so they came to the last stage, in the heart of Barcelona. I was in the breakaway and I saw them and said, “Guys!” and waved. They thought it was awesome. It was pretty cool they saw me race, and where I lived, and how I was doing everything. They thought it was cool.”



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