The former Olympic rower turned Cannondale pro is constantly on the go whether it be racing, travelling or learning a new language
It’s a nice feeling to know you’re the only Aussie at Cannondale. It’s hard at times because it’s easy to be isolated, but being isolated is sometimes nice when you’re at a bike race and want to switch off.
My Italian is pretty good now. I’m definitely fluent in cycling speak. I’m not very good at talking about gardening or things like that, but I can certainly get by. I’ve realised that’s crucial – obviously, being part of an Italian team – but even just with cycling in general and being able to communicate in the peloton, Italian is a good one that everyone can pick up a bit of.
I’ve got a nice place in Varese, Italy, just up the hill from the [Australian Sport Commission’s] European Training Centre. It overlooks the lake and you can see the Alps. It’s good to watch your rowing buddies out there training on the water. I get the sleep out of my eyes and then I go training. I admire what they do but I don’t ever look and think, “God, I wish I could go for a row.”
I’d love to have a go at the Classics. But you really do have to decide whether you want to try and do the tours or do them, because they require a different body type and a different energy system.
There are no problems with Ivan [Basso] and Peter [Sagan]. They get along and they work really well together. Basso’s probably past that point of having the whole team at his beck and call but he still believes he can get the results. I think he also sees the importance of giving the other riders an opportunity to do well, which is great.
I’ve been on Lord Howe Island because my
mum and my grandparents live out there. It’s 14km long and 1km wide. There are
only 300 people that live there. It’s on the Great Barrier Reef so it’s pretty spectacular.
I haven’t really had any time off the bike this year. I was in New York for a week but I was with Cannondale and so did some stuff with them. Following that I went to the Noosa Criterium [in Queensland, Australia] and Peter came out for that. Then Cannondale lent me one of its latest mountain bikes to go out and play with on Lord Howe Island. I’m not very good at doing nothing.
Peter was awesome at the Noosa Crit. The best part about him is he loves trying anything – nothing fazes him. He loves being involved and he loved the opportunity to just be himself here in Australia, without too many eyes on him like he has in Europe.
This article was first published in the January 2 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!