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Interview: Ricardo van der Velde
By Staff
Date: 3/26/2009
Interview: Ricardo van der Velde

Interview: Ricardo van der Velde
A conversation with Garmin Slipstream's  new Dutch Young Gun, 22 year old Riccardo van der Velde.

By Adam Abramowicz

Ricardo van der Velde is a newcomer to the American outfit, Garmin-Slipstream. A successful U23 rider for the Rabobank Continental squad, Rici hopes his experience at Garmin is as educational as it is successful. We caught up with the young Dutch stud before the Castille e Leon from the comfort of his apartment in Girona!

Riccardo van der Velde

DP: So Ricardo, Rico, Suave, Ricola, Van Der Dutch? What do you like to go by?

Ricardo van der Velde: Funny you should ask, at my first Garmin training camp in Boulder I managed to miss my flight. Since then, JV (Jonathan Vaughters) bought me a Hannah Montana watch to make a little fun of me I guess. Guys on the team have started calling me Ricardo Montana, Rici Montana and Rici. At home they call me Kiko. It's Italian for 'busy little kid.' When my father was racing professionally in Italy, that's the nickname he gave me.

Adam Abramowicz: We're friends on Facebook. Did you accept my Friend Request because you though that maybe I was a cute, female, pro cyclist groupie or something?

RVDV: I actually thought you were! No, only joking, I always think twice about accepting friends on the internet, but heck, why not. It got me this interview!

DP: Which is sexier: a Felt DA with electronic Dura Ace TT shifters or a Giro d'Italia podium girl?

RVDV: Ai! That's a hard one! Well, I think I'll go for the Giro podium girl. After all, they do speak that sexy Italian language.

Tour of Qatar

DP: I'm not, how you say: goed bedreven (well versed?) in European women...which nation has the best women?

RVDV: Which nation? Hmmm. I think Europe has nice girls. Holland, especially because my girlfriend might be reading! Haha. But I've been to Perth, Australia, and I have to say-I've never seen such nice looking girls in such a short period of time!

DP: I never though I'd say this, but enough about women. So you're a neo-pro for the Garmin-Slipstream outfit.. How goes it thus far?

RVDV: All is well. I've gotten my first pro races out of the way and I started with a kicker of a start! My first pro race for a pro team and we won the Team Time Trial! That was really cool!

DP: Any big objectives for the season?

RVDV: Just to ride as I always ride: aggressive, in the front and well! I'm looking forward to learning from the B.I.G. boys like Zabkriskie, Vande Velde, Millar, etc.

DP: You're racing at Castille e Leon this upcoming Monday. If I were a betting man and decided to bet 1000 guilder on you to win CeL on and you won! -- I'd be a rather wealthy man, right? What would you say the odds are for you to win at CeL?

RVDV: I'd say give it a couple of years, then your bet might be more reasonable. ;-)

2007 Dutch National Cyclocross Championships U-23 Podium: van der Velde(2nd), van Amerongen and van Poppel
Photo c. Bart Hazen

DP: You went from the Dutch Rabobank team to the American Garmin squad, you must be a fan of the colors blue and orange?

RVDV: It's funny you say that, I didn't think about it 'til now that this year's kit looks a lot like old Rabo.

DP: I was a big fan of the all-white Garmin kits...and I actually kind of miss them already. What are your thoughts behind the transgression back to the more old-school Slipstream design?

RVDV: I love the new kit! The colors with the splash of white! It ROCKS doesn't it? The old kits were cool too, but I prefer more colors.
DP: You're on Felt bikes now. Did you have a choice behind the AR, Z-Series and F-Series? Which are you on right now?

RVDV: I have both! I own the new F1 and the new AR aero bike! I have to say they roll even better than the Colnago's I was on the past couple of years. Probably the best so far!

van der Velde' team issue Garmin/Slipstream F1

DP: Describe your ideal/favorite training route/ride...

RVDV: I did a six hour ride once in Pistonia, Italy. That area is lovely! I really like the VIC loop here in Girona where I recently moved to. It's 185km with hills in the country side.

DP: Do you prefer to ride solo or with pals?

RVDV: I like riding with pals. I'm not really a solo rider. Now and then, yeah, I love to. But I prefer nice long rides with some mates.

DP: Who are some of your pals within le peloton ?

RVDV: Of course all the Dutchy's on the team like Martijn Maaskant, Hans Dekkers and Huub Duyn who I'm now living with. Some of the Rabo guys I know from back in the day and alot of the neo's who I raced with last year like Ben Swift and my teammate Cameron Meyers. I got some mate's though.

Riccardo rode for the Rabobank Continental squad from 2005 - 2008.

DP: Any riders of the past or present that you really admire?

RVDV: Of course my dad! For a long time he's been my hero. Cancellara is on of the riders I love to see riding in the present!

(Editor's note: Riccardo's father, Johan van der Velde had a 12 year professional career starting in 1978 to 1983 with T1- Raleigh and riding for 11 teams, and retiring from Spanish team Artiach - Royal in 1990.
During his career Johan van der Velde had over 67 victories including stage victories in the Tour of Romandie, Kellogg Tour of Britain, Ronde van Nederland, Tour de Suisse, Multiple stages in the Tour de France, Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré winning in 1980,  stages in the Giro d'Italia... he also won: the Points jersey in the 85 Giro, and finished third in the 1982 Tour de France, twice the national road champion of the Netherlands and a quite a number of top one day races.. far too many to list here.)

DP: How long is your stem?

RVDV: I think I'm on an 11cm?

DP: What is your favorite pre-ride meal?

RVDV: Pancakes with apple syrup and an omelet with toast.

DP: Does Ricardo Van Der Velde Twitter?

RVDV: I think I have an account, but I don't use it. Is that good?

DP: If bicycles didn't exist, what would I be interviewing you for/about instead?

RVDV: Not sure? Probably for being a party animal every weekend like all the other kids my age.

in der bus

DP: Do you think you can dance?

RVDV: No, I don't. Sorry ladies.

DP: Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

RVDV: I try! Haha.

DP: I tried speaking Dutch earlier. How'd I do?

RVDV: Not too good. I'm sorry. Haha.

DP: On a scale from Campagnolo Mirage to 11-Speed Super Record, how would you rate this interview?

RVDV: Campy Record 10-speed, 'cuz 11-Speed is just silly!

Ricardo van der Velde
Home: Rijsbergen, The Netherlands
Date of birth: Februay 19, 1987
2005 - 2008 Rabobank Continental
2009 Garmin Slipstream
All photos courtesy of Ricardo van der Velde

More of Adam's Interviews:
Interview: Mara Abbott Ascending
Interview: Shelley Olds

2009 Garmin/Slipstream Team Profile
Garmin/Slipstream ProTeam 2009 Squad Announced

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