May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010

I have been following the Giro and there seems to be a lot of crashes. Do you consider this a good bike race. Is it a bad course lay out or is it just bike racing. I think it would be more enjoyable if the guys could just go flat out. If I want crashes I'll watch NASCAR. - Sean E.

JB: To be quite honest, I haven't been watching much of the Giro since we decided not to race it this year, but I've heard about all the crashes in Holland. I'd like to think that RCS, the Giro organizers, did not devise race routes with the objective of having riders crash. You never want to think any race organizer has that intention. From what I've heard, there was a lot of nervous riding in the bunch - most likely due to the narrower roads of Holland, some rain and wind. Those conditions are not ideal and many riders end up vying for position in the front, where there is less of a risk to crash. But I wouldn't say that it's a bad course layout - I think it's more reflective of just the nature of conditions in Holland, and I think we'll see a lot of those same conditions during the first week of the Tour. Personally, it's a great aspect of the sport that brings constant challenges. We don't ride indoors or on perfectly smooth roads or on roads that have a fixed length and width. Obviously I'm not a fan of crashes (I've been in quite a lot and trust me, it's not fun), but different situations and conditions make it more of a challenge and I think entertaining for fans as well.

Twenty seven fans on Facebook think Chris Horner belongs on the RadioShack Tour de France team. Do you think he will make the team? - PapaBliss

JB: I will pick the complete team mid-late June. These next races are critical for me to evaluate everyone's current form as they head into July. Now having said that, Chris has had a great Spring. Winning Pais-Vasco, well that's no small feat - it's known as one of the hardest stage races. So I've been impressed, not to mention proud on how he's bounced back from last season!

Do you or the other directors help arrange for personal coaching if a rider does not already have a coach, but desires one? - Andrea E

JB: We have a coach on our team that works with individual riders on their specific training plans, which are structured around races and team goals that we've determined. Now with riders doing most of the training at home, spread out across Europe and the US, technology plays an important role. Riders can email their training data and have everything evaluated and analyzed. Then programs can be adjusted accordingly. The coach, Sports Directors and myself - we all work as a team, with the plan of giving each rider the best and most appropriate training program.

In the Tour of the Basque Country, Chris Horner was quite often riding alone and without protection or so it seemed. Are you able to tell us a little of your reasoning as far as race tactics in this regard? - Marty R

JB: Marty, it's a bit hard without knowing the exact situations in the race that you are referring to. In bike racing there comes a point, normally towards the latter part of the stage or climbs, where the strongest rider and team leader, rides away from his teammates. The teammates have done their job for the day to protect the rider up to that point. We have a strategy in place so that every rider has a job along the route. Sometimes these jobs change depending on how the race unfolds. An important thing to remember is that if all 8 riders leave nothing in the tank and go all out during the stage, then we may run into a very bad situation the next day. That's why we create these jobs or specific tasks. The team did great work for Chris in Basque Country and put him in great positions daily so that he could be as fresh as possible when it came to the last part of the stage. I will tell you this - If the team wasn't protecting him well, Chris would have had to do more work earlier in the race and I can confidently say that he would not be able to finish as strong as he did and win. Unfortunately, tv often doesn't show the great work being done earlier in the race and I think that would bring some perspective on how much of a team sport cycling really is.

I am really excited to see you and your team at this year's Amgen Tour of California Stage 6, 7 and 8. For what it's worth, would you be able to sign my newly acquired Team RadioShack jersey? - Joseph S.

JB: Joseph, thanks for the support and glad you're coming out to watch the race. The best place to get the jersey signed is in the team parking area before the stage. Get their early and watch out for where the bus parks. Last year it was very crowded and the people towards the front have the best chance to get something signed. Good luck and enjoy yourself!

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