Posted by Editor on 06/25/08
David Veilleux Interview
by Amy Smolens
Just before the start of the Tour of Pennsylvania, Amy Smolens interviewed David Veilleux, who is in his first year with the U.S. pro team Kelly Benefits Strategies-Medifast. Subsequent to that, he finished fourth in the first stage and 19th in the second (both yesterday). Veilleux has had a strong season so far, winning the U.S. NRC Kelly Cup race and stage 6 at the Nature Valley GP.
Amy Smolens: It's midway through your first season with Kelly Benefits Strategies-Medifast, how would you assess your season so far and what's been your highlight?
David Veilleux: Well, of course I think my highlight was pretty much Nature Valley. I did well with the Best Young Rider (jersey) and the final stage win. It's been great, I'm having a really good time with the team, everyone's working together and it's just fun to ride with all these guys and it's going well.
AS: How's the chemistry on the team?
DV: It's really good. I think we're just good friends and we're enjoying what we do and that's pretty cool. When anyone has to do a job for anyone else they're doing it and we're happy to do it and it's good.
AS: Do you hang out a lot with Keven Lacombe and Martin Gilbert, the fellow Quebecers on the team?
DV: Yeah, yeah, of course. But I hang out with the other guys, too. We're not apart from the other guys; I think we're all pretty much well in the team and integrated with the team.
AS: Your director, Jonas Carney, started you out slowly this season, not having you race the Tour of California at age 20. Now that you won the Kelly Cup and a stage at the Nature Valley Grand Prix, that program seems to have been the right one, doesn't it?
DV: Even at age 20, 25, 30...one thing if you do California you just move all your schedule from three months. I think I prefer to start slowly, especially when it's winter in Canada it's not great training, so I come to the States a little bit. I prefer to be in shape for June because there are big races for me, with Nationals and everything. It's what I expected, a slower start and then really a big month of June.
AS: People don't think of you as a sprinter but you outsprinted Dominique Rollin and Kyle Wamsley at the Kelly Cup. What did that win show you?
DV: I don't think I'm a big bunch sprinter, I don't especially like them and I'm good for the train leadout. But I've won some good sprints in Quebec, too, so I know I'm a pretty good sprinter, not great, but I'm OK. And I think I'm seeing that in a small group like this, four or five people, I'm pretty good at sprinting against anyone. It's like in Nature Valley on the Saturday (Stage 5) I sprinted out against (Ivan) Stevic and the other HealthNet guy (John Murphy) and I outsprinted them (for 4th place) so I think a small sprint like this is pretty good for me.
AS: And you seemed to form a good 1-2 punch with Andy Bajadali - how did that work to your advantage at Nature Valley?
DV: Well, Nature Valley wasn't really a climbers' stage race and the Saturday stage (hilly finish circuits in Mankato) we kind of got together, it was pretty good, and I just felt good on that day for that sort of climb (Bajadali was 3rd, Veilleux was 4th.) Yeah, it was good to have Baj in that small group (of six riders in the final selection.)
AS: What have you learned from him and the other veterans on Kelly Benefits Strategies-Medifast?
DV: I raced with Baj a little bit less, but (Alex) Candelario with sprinting and everything, he's pretty good. It's fun to have guys like this that have a lot of background so they can help us.
AS: You outsprinted Rory Sutherland for the win, Ivan Stevic, the B-World champion - was in the field, too. What did a win in that high quality field mean for you?
DV: I don't know, I had good legs and was in the right place at the right time. I don't know, it's bike racing - the week before in the (U23) World Cup in Canada (Saguenay) I didn't feel really good, I had a hard time at the end and finished way back (33rd on GC) and then the next week I'm feeling good. I had a good day and I'm happy that I came up with a win there.
AS: And you finished 7th overall, along with the Best Young Rider Jersey. But here at the Tour of Pennsylvania it's a different story - you're an overall GC contender and people look at you as one of the favourites. How does that change your mindset?
DV: I don't know, we'll have to see. I did the World Cup in Canada with U23 and it's super aggressive, lots of attacks. So we're going to see all the things like how the field is going to be. I hope I'll do good but it's hard to control the race with six riders so maybe we'll try to be not too much in front in the first two stages. It's a bit disappointing that we don't have bonuses for finishing, as I think I can do good in small field finishes and get bonus time. So we'll have to see how things go.
AS: And then the National Championships are next - can you get the hat trick in the Time Trial?
DV: I hope so, that's my objective, my main goal, and to win the road race, too. We'll see, I think I have a really good Time Trial position this year, we've worked with Steve Hed and then we have really good equipment. I think if the form is good, I think I have a chance because last year I won it on the circuit and I feel better than last year so I think I have a good chance.
AS: And after that, what are your other goals for the season?
DV: August is going be all the big crits and stuff like this. So my goals are going to be more of a helper, to help the guys win sprints and leadouts and stuff like that. I think there are good short Time Trials so maybe I'll have good legs, and the end of September are the World Championships so those are going to be important for me.
AS: Speaking of representing Canada in the Worlds, the big news over the past week was Canada's Olympic selection. Do you look at those guys heading to Beijing this summer and think that four years down the road that could be you going to the Olympics in London?
DV: Yeah, I would like it, think it's an objective for me, I would like to think about preparing myself for being at least in the pool for selection, then in four years be in the top shape to maybe get selected, I think that would be really good.
AS: I flew to Philly on USAir and when I pulled down the tray table and there was a picture of Quebec City on it, and the tray next to me had Montreal, both beautiful places. You don't get home a lot, what do you miss most about home?
DV: Oh, just spending time with the girlfriend and just being home. I just like to go home and just take some time and watch tv and take it easy.
AS: The Nationals will be in Beauce again, is that almost like a home race for you?
DV: Yeah, yeah of course, it's like an hour drive from home, so yeah, Nationals will be close to home so it'll be good, I can sleep at home and do another trip to Nationals and it'll be a good race.
AS: One last question. Are there any riders you compare yourself to, or who anyone else compares you to?
DV: I like to race for myself, I don't want to race to look like someone else, I race because I like it and that's my way of biking. But I know some people said I look a little bit like Jens Voigt, just really aggressive racing. But I just prefer to think of myself and just race because I love it and just want to be David, that's it.
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