Posted by Editoress on 04/20/08
Tour de Georgia
Amy Smolens chats with Symmetrics' Svein Tuft today prior to the start of the 2008 race tomorrow.
The Tour de Georgia is headquartered at the Ocean Plaza Resort in Tybee Island, Georgia. As the name implies, it's right on the Atlantic Ocean, and from my room I can see university students on Spring Break hanging out on the beach. Team Symmetrics didn't have that luxury, but I had a chance to sit down for a brief chat with Svein Tuft as he was relaxing with roommate Christian Meier after a morning training ride.
Amy Smolens: You raced Bendigo in Australia in early March and we haven't heard much from you since. What have you been up to since then?
Svein Tuft: I came home, recovered from traveling a bit, trained there for a week and then went down to Fresno. We have a great family we stay with, Wayne and Judy Holm, and they put me up for a good month. The weather in California was just fantastic and the riding in the foothills and up in the high country there was just unreal. Really the training couldn't have gone any better for me. Just getting intensity in Australia early on in the season and then putting in the big miles in California and hoping it all comes together here for Georgia.
AS: How much is your program for the season based upon the Olympic selection process and the Olympics themselves?
ST: It's a bit of a tough one this year in that sense just because of the team's (sponsorship) issues and trying to get to proper UCI races. A good thing we have going for us is our (Canada's) selection is based off January 1, 2007 (through June 1, 2008) so most of our guys had a great 2007 season and that bodes well for the selection process. But as it always goes it's kind of "what have you done lately?," so it's very important to be at this race, and any other UCI race or big race that we can get do is pretty key for us at this moment. With the CCA selection process it's hard to really bank on doing your year around the Olympics because you just don't know. There are 3 spots and it's anyone's guess as to who those guys are going to be.
AS: Given, as you alluded to, the team sponsorship problems and your desire to be chosen for Beijing, how important is it for Symmetrics to have been selected for the Tour de Georgia and to perform well here?
ST: It's huge and I think this is a far different team coming here than the one in 2005. Not in the sense of the riders, we still have 5 riders from '05 coming, I don't think there's a team that could say the same, but just as far as how we've developed over the years. The last 3 years, in that time we've learned so much as a team, so I think yeah, it's really important for us. We're so happy to be invited to this race and show what we can do because I think we can do some pretty good things.
AS: Which stages in particular might suit you and team Symmetrics?
ST: Yeah, definitely I think if we're on form like I think some of our guys are, the harder stages always suit our guys. I could see that long stage before Brasstown Bald (Stage 5, Suwanee to Dahlonega, 133.4 miles), and the kinda rolly hills, I've done that stage before and it's a tough one. So if the form's there and the legs are there, I can see the GC sort of being sorted out at that point or somewhat close to it and maybe a few breaks go and something shakes down there. So yeah, the harder and windier, it tends to suit our guys a lot more.
AS: I know you have really good team chemistry and want to stay with these guys but have you gotten any offers from other teams?
ST: Yeah, there are options out there but at this point there's not a lot a guy can do in that sense. You have to really just focus on what you're doing and what we can do right now. That other stuff will come but as it stands right now we have to really stick together, because as soon as your mind's elsewhere in that departmentt then you really can't ride as a team unit. How our team operates, everyone needs to be on that same page to get results, that's how we've done it in the past and that's how we're going to do it here.
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