Team Garmin-Transitions’ captain Christian Vande Velde is preparing for his first race of the year, the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal. VeloNews’ Andy Hood sat down with him last month during the training camp in Calpe, Spain.
Full of confidence and back in full health, the 33-year-old will be the top GC rider at Garmin-Transitions following the recent departure of the 2009 Tour’s fourth-place finisher, Bradley Wiggins.
Vande Velde debuts his 2010 season this week at the Volta ao Algarve. VeloNews sat down with him last month at the team’s training camp in Calpe, Spain. Here are excerpts from the interview:
VeloNews: After an up-and-down season in 2009, what are your sensations coming into this year?
Christian Vande Velde: Compared to last year, everything is better. My body is better, even after all the mayhem I put my body through last year. I changed up my winter a little bit. I went to Hawaii instead of staying in Chicago all winter, so that was nice. It was a lot of fun, too, for not just myself, but for my family. It was a long two weeks over the holidays in Chicago. It’s a great city if you’re Muddy Waters, not if you’re a bike racer.
VN: How’s your racing schedule shaping up?
VDV: Algarve, Paris-Nice, Catalunya, some classics – Fleche, Liege, maybe Amstel – Giro and Tour. It pains me to say that there’s no California. It was a hard decision. Even today, every person who asks me, I hate to say I am doing the Giro, because California is a great race. I’ve done every race and I’ve had a great time, no matter how bad the weather. We don’t see that many spectators in any race apart from the Tour.
VN: Why is the Giro better for you?
VDV: Just the way my body works. My family will be here. Travel. I’m done trying to make my life any more complicated than it already is.
First, just go with something that already works for me. Second, it takes the stress out of my life, not that the Giro isn’t stressful, it is a great race and it’s a big block of training that’s second to none.