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