Posted by Editoress on 06/30/08
by Amy Smolens
Stage 6 of the Tour of Pennsylvania was a strange way to end a fantastic week for 20-year-old David Veilleux and the entire Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast team. The Downtown Pittsburgh Criterium was first delayed due to thunderstorms and a tornado warning, then restarted but neutralized, the results not counting for GC.
So Veilleux held on to his Yellow Jersey, picking up the biggest overall victory of his young career. In addition to the General Classification, he won two stages, placed 3rd on another and won the Sprinter's Competition. Fellow Quebecer Keven Lacombe won a stage, placed 2nd three times and was second in the Sprinter's Competition. Newcomer Jake Keough placed 2nd on one stage.
Functioning as a well-drilled team and showing great teamwork throughout the entire week under young director Jonas Carney, KBS was the only team to stand on the podium after every stage. I had an opportunity to speak to Veilleux after the podium presentations for his breakthrough victory.,
David Veilleux - Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast - Postrace - Winner, Tour of Pennsylvania
Amy Smolens: What's the feeling riding with the Yellow Jersey on your back during a final stage of an important race?
David Veilleux: It felt good today. I think we had the strategy to just control the race from the front so we went for it. I didn't really think about having the Yellow Jersey, I just rode as I would have rode the race. I know the temperature changed things a little bit but sometimes it happens.
AS: Two stage wins and the overall victory. Where does this win rank among what you've accomplished in your young career
DV: I think it's definitely the biggest win of my career. It's pretty big, I'm pretty happy. I didn't know I could do this. My goal was to be in good shape for the month of June and the beginning of July and that worked out. I mean, I have two stage wins. Yesterday (Stage 5) I would have preferred if my teammate (Keven Lacombe) would have won, I think he deserved this win, he helped me a lot winning, getting the GC back but yeah, it's been a really good week for the whole team.
AS: How much confidence does this give you going into Nationals, both the Time Trial and Road Race, later this week?
DV: Yeah, I think it gives me confidence, I think I'm ready. It's going to be a strong competition over there but think I'm ready for it so I will do my best and see how things go.
AS: You should be in pretty good situation there with a few teammates working for you in the Road Race, right?
DV: Yeah, yeah, well I have Keven and Martin Gilbert but it's going to be a really hilly course and I don't think that's their specialty but we'll try to help each other out in the beginning of the race trying to save energy, and we'll see how things go. I think it's going to be a race that the separation is from the back more than from attacks.
AS: This win here in Pennsylvania has to put you in good position to repeat your double championship from two years ago, right?
DV: Yeah, I think so, I think I'm ready and this is my goal.
AS: I first interviewed you last year at the Nature Valley Grand Prix you were 19 and you took the Best Young Rider jersey for a while, but eventually gave it up. Since then you've won the Time Trial Nationals again, you won the Kelly Cup, won a tough stage at Nature Valley and were 7th overall there. Where has your improvement over the last twelve months come from?
DV: It's just that we are young riders. So like last year I was struggling in Nature Valley the last two, three stages and then this year it's the two stages that were the best for me (4th and a stage victory.) At our age you have to just keep focused and sometimes you have bad years and then the next year is really good. I just stay focused. The first part of the season I did a lot of teamwork and I see that sometimes it's not always the funnest thing to do but it pays off one day and when you have the chance everyone helps you back. I think that being with older guys (such as KBS teammates Andy Bajadali and Alex Candelario) it helped me mature, too and I think Jonas being the Sports Director helps a lot.
AS: What does it feel like to stand on the top step of a podium wearing the Yellow Jersey?
DV: Ah, it feels good but I mean, it's just a race and it's good to be up there.
AS: Does it give you ideas for other future goals past your immediate goal of the Nationals?
DV: I don't know, we'll see. I mean I like to ride my bicycle and I have a great time doing this but I want to keep going to school, too. So it's just I will continue training and if things go well they will go well and we'll see how things go. I don't have specific future plans but I would like to be part of the Olympics in four years.
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