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"When I see how Simon Gerrans and Cadel Evans perform, it reminds me that I have to progress step by step into my career. I hope to reach their level one day but I’m not there yet,” Carlos Verona told Cyclingnews at the Tou...

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele

CARLOS VERONA QUINTANILLA

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26.01.2014 @ 09:20 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

The very first week of the 2014 season in road cycling has been marked by some impressive performances of the youngest riders in the professional peloton, as neo-pros Phil Gaimon of Garmin-Sharp and Julian Arredondo of Trek Factory Racing have won stages at the Tour de San Luis, with the first sitting safely in the second place in the general classification of the event. Even though Carlos Verona of Omega Pharma-Quick Step most likely will finish as a runner-up in the young riders standings at the Santos Tour Down Under, young Spaniard remains satisfied with his season’s opening and constant progress.

 

Even though 21-year old Verona was the first white jersey holder at this year’s edition of Tour Down Under, now he remains second in the young riders classification behind impressively performing in the national UniSA outfit Jack Haig in the with only illusory chances to see this situation change.  

 

The last episode of the only Australian World Tour event is still to be played, but a sprinters-friendly route offers no great opportunities for the young climber, and he modestly confesses that there is still a necessary improvement to be done before he reaches the top of his possibilities,

 

“The Tour Down Under has been good for me so far,” he told Cyclingnews in Adelaide.

 

“But sometimes your body doesn’t react as well as you want. When I see how Simon Gerrans and Cadel Evans perform, it reminds me that I have to progress step by step into my career. I hope to reach their level one day but I’m not there yet.”

 

The young climber very quickly became professional with the Burgos-BH team, and has been noticed by Omega Pharma-Quick Step at the age of 18 after his respectable performances at mountainous Tour des Pays de Savoie.

 

"That’s when Omega Pharma - Quick Step, via their soigneur Johan Molly, asked me to join them for a training camp," he explained.

 

“I started working with them and signed my contract in 2012.”

 

“So far, my best result is eighth of the Japan Cup”, he added. “I’m following a planned progression. We’ll see where it takes me but I already know that I prefer the long races. The Vuelta a España is definitely my favorite.”

 

Verona doesn’t make any secret of a fact, that Joaquim Rodriguez is his greatest inspiration on and off the bike, and he enjoyed a time when he was able to undergo few trainings with him, after younger Spaniard moved to Barcelona.

 

“When I moved to Barcelona to be close to my girlfriend and find better weather conditions than in Madrid, I’ve trained a fair bit with him but not much since he moved to Andorra," the Spaniard said.

 

“I really appreciate him as a person. For anything in cycling, he’s my model. I like his sportsmanship. When he lost the 2012 Vuelta a España to Alberto Contador, he only made positive comments.”

 

Verona also reflected on the current condition of the Spanish cycling, pointing out that while the generation of the renowned stars in the likes of Alejandro Valverde, Purito Rodriguez or Samuel Sanchez would shortly leave the stage, there are no obvious successors to take over their position and most likely the time arrives for other nations to set the tone.

 

“Benat Intxausti might be the next big one,” Verona commented.

 

“But maybe it’s time for other nations to lead cycling rankings. We won’t always have the best riders in the world. Spain doesn’t have many continental teams, so it’s not easy for young riders to step up a level from the junior ranks. As for myself, it’s too early to tell. It’s difficult to become a star but I work hard and enjoy my job every day.”

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