Aqua Blue's Cap­tain Amer­ica on his fond­ness for Switzer­land and climb­ing the Au­bisque

Procycling - - PROLOGUE -

What’s your favourite race?

I’ve ac­tu­ally got two. To watch, Flan­ders. To race, the Tour de Suisse. Switzer­land is such a nice coun­try and it’s treated me well.

What’s your favourite climb?

I’m go­ing to have to be pretty generic and say Col de la Madone. I ride it a lot. If I’m in Nice, I ride it a cou­ple of times a week. Its prox­im­ity makes it easy to ride and it’s good for train­ing ef­forts, be­cause it’s long. And I quite like the long his­tory be­hind it as well.

Who is the best do­mes­tique in the pelo­ton?

Michael Schär. He’s a leg­end, that guy. I was on BMC with him for a cou­ple of years. He’s su­per-classy and he’s just the strong­est.

Who is your fun­ni­est team-mate?

Conor Dunne. He’s hi­lar­i­ous to have at the races. Last year we raced to­gether a lot and he’s pretty goofy. He’s in­ter­est­ing to talk to and I train with him a lot be­cause we both live in the same area.

Who do you think will win the Tour de France in five years?

Egan Ber­nal. I guess that’s pretty easy to say now.

What’s the best prize you’ve ever won at a race?

I’ve twice won a big green salad bowl at the Tour de Suisse. They came with Bruno’s Best salad dress­ing as well be­cause they spon­sored the most ag­gres­sive rider com­pe­ti­tion.

What’s the tough­est day you’ve had on the bike?

The hard­est I’ve ever gone was in 2016 on the queen stage of the Vuelta. The stage fin­ished on the Au­bisque and we had 5,000m of climb­ing. I went so deep I could barely climb the stairs back onto the bus. I’ve had days that are hard for other rea­sons but phys­i­cally, that’s the one that stands out.

What’s the last app you down­loaded?

It’s a game… I re-down­loaded Words with Friends but I still haven’t played it. Right when iPhones got big, ev­ery­body played it. It was like Scrab­ble for your phone. I must have been bored some­where and down­loaded it.

What re­sult are you proud­est of?

My Tour de Suisse stage win last year be­cause it was in the WorldTour and it was right be­fore the Tour. It wasn’t easy and no one handed it to me. The pelo­ton was chas­ing full gas and still couldn’t catch me. In terms of pres­tige and dif­fi­culty that was the big­gest but win­ning the na­tional cham­pi­onships and hav­ing the jersey meant a lot in terms of my im­age as a rider.

Tell us about one of your scars.

I have one right across my nose which isn’t from bike rac­ing. My one chore as a kid was tak­ing the garbage out. I hated it, so to do it as few times as pos­si­ble you had to re­ally ram the garbage down. One time there was a folded ce­real box on the top and I pushed it re­ally hard. My hand went straight through it and I smashed my nose on the side of the garbage can. Blood ev­ery­where.

Who’s your favourite per­son to fol­low on In­sta­gram?

Rigob­erto Urán. He’s al­ways funny, al­ways in a good mood and do­ing cool things. I also like #niceislove, be­cause it’s loads of cool shots of things go­ing on around Nice.

"In 2016, on the queen stage of the Vuelta... I went so deep, I could barely climb the stairs back onto the bus"

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