Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tivers sizes up the Battenkill

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2011 Tour of the Battenkill Champion Brett Tivers (Garneau /Quebecor Cycling Team) 
Photo © Pasquale Stalteri
Tivers sizes up the Battenkill
2011 champ describes team, race

by Pasquale Stalteri & John Symon

April 11, 2012 (Cambridge, NY) - The 2012 Tour of the Battenkill men's pro race starts on Main Street in Cambridge at 12 noon Sunday. This season opener will see riders will competing on a two-lap, 124 mile (200km) course that makes direct passes through the villages of Cambridge, Salem, and Greenwich each lap. More than 150 international, professional riders making up 29 teams and their support cars will race with a rolling closure format allowing riders access to both sides of the road during the race, with the assistance of law enforcement.

To better understand this UCI-sanctioned race, Miroir du Cyclisme contacted Brett Tivers (Garneau /Quebecor Cycling Team), the 2011 champion. A New Zealand rider based in Quebec City, last year Tivers rode the 158.4km (99 mile) course in a time of 4:07:37, edging out second place Jesse Anthony (KBS-OptumHealth) by 11 seconds. Third place in 2011 went to Brendan Housler (Mt. Borah Custom Apparel/Minerva Design) who finished 47 seconds back. This Sunday’s pro men’s race will be 42km longer than the 2011 edition.

Miroir du Cyclisme (MdC): Are you or the Garneau team facing any particular challenges in 2011 at Battenkill?

Brett Tivers (BT): Our team is definitely one that will have a lot of focus on due to results we achieved last year but this is a new team with new riders and we are about a new fresh start.

We have a more all-rounded team this year with plenty of options within a race. This is very good as if someone is not feeling great then there is another rider to step up to the plate and we as a team can put our energy around them. Based on my race result from last year, I could be more of a marked man, which means that my teammates have more leeway in the race.

What are the unique challenges at Battenkill?

BT: Battenkill is all about riding position. The dirt sections mean that if you are riding at the front, it is generally safer and this also stops you from getting caught behind any splits in the bunch, held up behind crashes etc. The key is to also relax on the dirt sections; too many riders last year panicked and were trying to move up on dirt. They ended taking bad lines resulting in hitting pot holes, running off the road and puncturing unnecessarily.

This year the [extra] distance is going to add a lot to the challenge of the race.  Some 200km for such an early part of the season could mean that those that have prepared for the season in warmer climate could be easily the ones in better form due to a greater level of fitness.

MdC: How the race is suited or not to your style of racing?

BT: The race last year suited me in the fact that it was a war of attrition. When I attacked the main bunch across to the break it was just after a very hard dirt section that had included a climb which split the [peloton] to pieces. A slight lull in the bunch and I knew it was time to attack!  This style of racing is where, if you have done the hard yards in training and come into the race fit, you will do well.

MdC: How you overcame these challenges and found a way to win?

BT: Last year I had gone into the race riding for another team mate so when I had attacked the bunch (40-50km from finish) to bridge to the break. The plan was always to make it easier on my teammate, Shaun McCarthy, in the bunch.  It was only 15km from the finish so that I thought we could actually stay away. And it was only 4km from the finish when I was chasing the sole breakaway rider, Jesse Anthony. I thought that if I catch him on the last false flat section, then I might actually win the race!

I attacked the race in a long breakaway soon after catching them. I rode with one other rider before dropping him on the last dirt climb 7km from the finish. I caught Jesse 2km from the finish, attacking him instantly on the other side of the road.

MdC: And the biggest lesson from 2011?

BT:  I think the biggest thing that I learnt last year was to approach a race with a relaxed attitude.  This let me to view the race with a better perspective which allowed me to read [what was going on] a lot better.

Please note that at least three of my wins last year happened when I was racing for teammates and simply by trying to set up wins for them when I found myself in the winning move…oops. Perhaps this was all due to the fact I wasn’t in the race to win, but simply support my teammates which meant less pressure. I had the ability to therefore read the race without the worry of winning it!

MdC: How does the road ahead look for 2012?

I’m not sure how the season will pan out for me, last year will be pretty hard to beat and my training this season started a lot later and has been very up and down suffering the effects of a long season that only really finished mid-January. My season last year was one of those seasons that everything fell into place from my solid 3 month pre-season to how every race unfolded.  My team had a huge roll in most of these races and results.  Therefore this season for me is all about helping my younger teammates develop as riders both on and off the bike. It will give me great satisfaction in assisting them get some results that will propel them onto greater things

MdC: Thanks Brett. Good luck on Sunday!

Editor’s note: we consider Brett to be an honorary Canadian and wish the best to him and all Canuck riders at the Battenkill!

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