Photo courtesy of Movistar Team
Beyond being a road captain and teacher, you’re also a very talented sprinter. How does your mindset change in a race when you’re the protected rider?
I feel better as a decision maker and leader in a race than to be the last one left in the race. Last year [working for] Bastianelli was great, for example. I feel more comfortable in that position, but I guess everyone does, because you have less pressure, and it’s easy. But taking responsibility is part of the game, so sometimes it can go well, and sometimes it can go wrong. In cycling, it often goes wrong, but that’s ok. I’m human. I’m not strong like Marianne [Vos] or Marta or Jolien [D'hoore] or other sprinters I know. But it’s ok, I work hard. Maybe never like this. The winter went well! This is more or less the last 20 days before the real season starts.
We know you from Canyon//SRAM, now you’re back with us. What’s it been like seeing how eTap has changed since you last raced it?
I knew the old bikes, and saw the new bike [with eTap AXS] for the first time, and said, “Whoa, that’s impressive.” It’s crazy. I really like it a lot. Overall, I believe everything is the best material you can find on the market, anywhere. It was a surprise, with the chain, and the smaller rings. Everyone was saying “oh, I don’t know” but after two weeks, because of course you have to try something, get a routine, I can say I like it a lot. For the women, I think the 48 with the 10-33 in the back, it’s crazy! For me, it’s the best setup I can find.
There's always an adjustment period.
Everyone was thinking, “oh, there’s no 52 or 53 [tooth chainrings]! But, if you compare a 48 with the ten tooth [cog]… I can understand for the men, it can be difficult when you’ve been on Campagnolo for forty years. For the women, I believe this setup with the 48 is perfect. I race with a 48, and sprint with it, and it’s enough. I don’t believe anyone can claim they need more. If someone says “oh I don’t know if it’s enough” I say “look, you don’t always use your hardest gear for the sprint anyway.”