August 30, 2008

As I sit in the heat and humidity of downtown Greenville, South Carolina, I can’t help but think about the role Team Garmin-Chipotle H3O will play in cycling history over the next two days. We have proven ourselves on European soil and have been a dominant team domestically. We already have two national champions on the team – Julian Dean, New Zealand and Dan Martin, Ireland. And I think I speak for everyone on the the team when I say that it is now time to get the one we really want.

It’s not going to be an easy task. Every team out there will be looking at what we do and hoping that we falter. Each event – the time trial today and the road race tomorrow – is equally as important to the team. As part of that history making thing I’ve been talking about, we’re hoping to take home both new garments of clothing offered up this weekend.

One of our time trialing hard men, Timmy Duggan and I decided to take a few notes on the next couple of days. Timmy, who is coming back from a near carreer-ending accident, will only be doing the time trial today, whereas I will only be doing the road race tomorrow. So we asked each other to talk about our events.

SSTraining_DugganAction Timmy on the time trial
Q: It’s your first race back. How do you feel?
Timmy: I don’t know if I’m going to win or have to take a nap halfway through the race. I’ve had flashes of brilliance, but still don’t feel completely normal from a racing perspective. But I’m really happy to be back with the guys on the team, even if it’s only for a few days.

Q: You’ve seen the course, tell us about it?
Timmy: It’s a 33 km time trial, 3 laps of a technical 11 km loop. It’s really not flat at all. It has lots of little sections that are hard to create a rhythm on. Constantly changing, with lots of corners gives it a lot of variety. It’s good for me because that give me ample recovery time, between the short outbursts of energy.

Q: Who do you think will do well on our team?
Timmy: I have no idea!!! I don’t know if I’m going to win or if Christian is going to crush it by two minutes. The team has had some impressive TT results this season, so we’ll be looking to get as many guys in contention as we can.

Q: It is good to be back in bike racing mode?
Timmy: Yes, it’s good to have that single-mindedness and focus back. I can’t wait to let out all the emotion I have bottled up over the last few months on that course tomorrow!

Lucas Euser, Tour of Denmark stage 2 Lucas on the road race
Q: You are replaying the same section of the season from last year, meaning the Tour of Portugal to US Pro. What have you learned and what are you going to do differently?
Lucas: I could write a novel on what I learned from the Tour of Portugal. I’ve learned to race smart and be patient and I have found new confidence in my abilities. Unfortunately, I did it the painful way, making mistakes out on the road and having to pay for them. But after all is said and done, I’m extremely happy I did it. My plan is to translate that experience into a team victory on Sunday! Being in Greenville once again with the hot and humid conditions, the main thing I will do differently is be better prepared. Hydration and patience will be the keys to success.

Q: What do you think about the dynamics of the race? We have 12 riders and other domestic teams have large squads as well. But teams like Columbia have only two riders.
Lucas: After an extremely successful season, I think everyone is going to look at us to control the race. Normally, I would blow that off. But this year, I feel that we have such a strong squad that we are going to have to embrace the raw truth and do just that – take control. It’s our race to lose. Going in as the race favorite is never an easy task. But with the team’s newfound motivation and our ability to work as a whole, it’s up to us to see it through.

Q: What will a US national championships mean to the team?
Lucas: Being the number one team in America with a strong international game, it almost feels necessary to have the jersey. I can sense from the team that it is something we all want. We want this jersey on the team and who it goes to will have to be decided on the road. But first, we have to focus on the task at hand. We have to make this race ours, own it, and see it through to the end.