Thursday 23 February 2012 - 13:45

Interview: Peter Velits

Interview: Peter Velits

Peter Velits just won Tour of Oman last weekend. We spoke with him about his victory, his training, and his future plans.

First, how does it feel to already have a victory with the team in 2012?

It's perfect. It's always good to have something like this at the beginning of the season. It's a perfect start of the year and I'm looking forward to the next races. I hope it's going to stay like this during the year also.

As a climber, can you talk about what was going through your mind in the final kilometers on Stage 5 at Tour of Oman, just when you were ready to hit Green Mountain?

That stage everybody knew was going to be the most important stage, when the whole race is going to be decided. We knew we must do really well on the climb to be high in the GC. The team really helped me. They kept me out of the wind and supported me all the way to the climb. When I was at the climb I gave everything, and yeah maybe made a little mistake in the final 3 or 4 kilometers. When Nibali attacked, I thought someone from the peloton might catch me, so I waited. But nobody came, and it was too late. But it was a good race. A good stage for me and I'm quite happy how everything worked out for I was in the lead and not (Vincenzo) Nibali.

Knowing you had a one second lead going into the final stage of Tour of Oman, how did the team, and you, work to defend your GC lead?

That stage was very important for us with only a one second advantage from Nibali. There were still a bonification sprint which was quite dangerous for us — 3, 2, and 1 seconds. So the tactic was Nibali cannot take any seconds. The team, we had (Tom) Boonen, (Gert) Steegmans and really strong, fast guys. I was quite confident we were going to make it in the sprint and beat Nibali at least and I'd sit quite safely in the GC. The plan worked out for us. We beat him in the sprint. It was very crucial for me to have a team like that there.

With 17 wins for the team already this season, how would you say the team has bonded?

We were really looking for a great start of the season. During the winter we worked a lot to create also a good atmosphere in the team. Thanks to the Team Building for example we learned how important is the team work. We really grew up together as team in the last winter. Then when the first victory came in Argentina everyone saw, "look, we can win we can make a good record, since everyone is really trying hard and helping each other to bring results." For me this is not a huge surprise. The team has clicked very well together.

You said you changed your approach going into this season and it has shown in your form. Can you talk a little about what you've done differently in the off-season with Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team?

This year we had good meetings during the training camp with our Sports Directors. They really listened to us and they provide us all what we need to perform well. Everybody here in the team knows his job. Management, sport directors, mechanics, masseurs, everybody works in the same direction. The team spirit and the professionalism here is really high. Of course we train also a lot, not just ride bikes for coffee.

Your next race will be Tirreno-Adriatico. How will you prepare for that race?

Today I am flying to Mallorca. We start training camp for 10 days before Tirreno. With my form, what I have now, it's really good. I'm not going to push it harder because you can go over at that point. I will keep it like this, and again do some intensive stuff, one long ride, power training — kind of mix up everything. But not so much where you can go over and then lose your form. The most important thing should be good weather, ride in good weather, which is why I go there.

Can you talk about any other races you're targeting this season?

So Tirreno is the main goal for spring. Then of course the Tour de France is the big goal for the whole season.

How are things going with you and your brother Martin?

With Martin we didn't really race a lot this season yet. Only one race this year together. But in Tirreno he should also be riding there, which is really good. That we are riding together for this race is really important for me. In Tirreno he will support me, which is a great feeling for me to have a twin brother for this race.I hope it brings good results!

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