Interview Jonathan Tiernan-Locke: “Is significant in a race as hard as Liege that a rider with no doping history won”

By @pmpalermo

How was it the first part of the season for you?
The first part of this season has been a steep learning curve for me. It has also been a frustrating time as I’ve had a lot of small interruptions to my training, like a virus and a saddle sore etc. I’m mostly happy with how I’ve performed though, which has always been at the service of the team, and I’ve improved in this area since my first races. Now I have a small break to recover and prepare for the summer races where I hope I can be more consistent and valuable to the team.

How was it Liege?what do you think about Danil Martin?do you know him personally?
Liege was tough! I was on team duties from the start, and just covering the early attacks was very hard. After that I was protecting our leaders and getting bottles etc. As of Dan Martin, I think it’s great for cycling and I’m very happy for him. Of course I would have preferred if a Sky rider had won, but Dan is a good guy and a great rider. He’s not a close friend, but we know each other and have a chat at races. It is also significant in a race as hard as Liege that a rider with no doping history won. Dan has always been very vocal about ridding the sport of cheats, so the victory was very important for the credibility of cycling too.

Colombians are surprising everywhere…you share Team with two of them…what can you tell us about it?

Yes and they’re very strong…maybe it’s the altitude from birth?! We have Rigo and Sergio on the team and they’re great characters and always good for morale!

2012 was great for you in Endura…did you find your home in SKY?till when do you have contract?what does the team wants from you?
2012 was a great year for me, and confirmed to me that I was ready to step up a level. It was a totally different environment though, where I was the protected rider and of course the races were a lower level. I have a two year contract with Sky and I’m expected to learn this year and adapt to World Tour racing, while also working for the team. Next year more will be expected of me, but already I’m very happy here and think it is the best place for me to develop as a rider.

How do you see Wiggins and Froome for next races…?how`s the relationship between them?people wanna know because what happened last year..
I think the relationship between Chris and Brad has been sensationalised a lot in the media. Journalists love to stir up some controversy or read something into a situation, and this is a prime example of that. They are both professionals and rode well as team mates at last years tour. In the heat of the moment in races sometimes there can be a misunderstanding, but one small moment received far too much attention and analysis in my opinion…what about the countless other kilometres where they rode perfectly?

Can you improve on your skills?in wich ones?
Certainly; I have learnt pretty quickly that at this level you have to be very strong. Last year I relied on my ability on short climbs to win races. For that you have to be explosive, which is natural for me, but in the World Tour the races are that much harder that I’m not fresh enough to make that kind of effort. That means I need to focus on my endurance and power over longer periods, which is something I’ve not specifically worked on in the past. I’m also working on my weight which is important now that I’m often racing on long climbs.

What kind of racer you`re?can you beat Cavendish and all those kind of sprinters?
I’m a punchy rider who can climb well as long as it’s not too long. I also have a good sprint from a small group, but have never been brave enough to get involved in a bunch sprint…those guys are crazy! A few years ago as an amateur in France I used to train with a rider who is now winning bunch sprints in good pro races-we would always sprint for signs and 99% of the time I would beat him, but never in a race as I was never brave enough!

Who`s you`re role model as a cyclist?
As a rider I’ve always admired Philippe Gilbert and how he rides-not afraid to attack and take a risk. I like this style of racing and it is how I’ve ridden in the past when I’ve had my own opportunities.

Can you tell us your calendar and objectives for the remainder of season?
I’ve got a few weeks of training now before the Tour of Norway, then the Tour de Suisse, National Championships and then the Tour of Austria. Then I’ll probably race Burgos before the La Vuelta and the World champs in Italy. I’d love to win the National Championships as I believe I’m capable this year, and to wet the jersey would be very special…I’ve just got to beat my own team mates though! I’m also hoping to get selected for the Vuelta as I think a grand tour would help me develop into a stronger rider all round.

What do you know about Argentina?do you have an opinion on Falklands?would you like to come to San Luis?
Not very much I’m afraid! I don’t have an opinion on the Falklands as I was too young at the time, and it was never taught in school. To be honest I don’t know anybody with an opinion on it! I would love to do San Luis though. My girlfriend lived in Argentina before and says it’s a wonderful country, so I am sure I will visit with her in the future.

Pablo Martín Palermo

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