Interview: Shelley Olds
Interview with one of the Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan team captains Shelley Olds - Usa Criterium and Pan American Road Champion, Giro Donne stage winner and Tour of New Zealand winner... more than just a field sprinter.
You had a real breakthrough season in 2010 with lots of wins including the PanAm Games, USA Crit. Champion and a stage in the Giro DíItalia. How do you look back on the 2010 season both competing for Peanut Butter and the national team?
When I look back on the 2010 season, I feel that it was my best year ever in cycling. Not only for the victories, but also for the lessons I learned and the experiences I had that will help me improve and progress in the sport.
You moved from Peanut Butter to the UCI team Diadora-Safi Pasta Zara. What do you expect for the new season?
I am extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity I have to race this season. I will be racing for one of the best teams in the world, with talented and gracious teammates. We will have excellent direction with Manel Lacambra and Diana Ziliute and I expect to learn and grow a lot.
How is your preparation going for the new season?
All is going exactly as planned and I am enjoying cycling, which is most important. I am happy and I expect that the season will be a successful one.
Shelley in action during the individual time trial at the 2010 Holland Ladies Tour.
How is the ambiance in your new team? The team is different than last year when they had mostly Italian/Ukrainian riders on the team.
I am looking forward to actually meeting some of my international teammates, but so far all of the communication I have had with the team and the management has been great. I know almost all of the riders from racing with or against them in the past, and I know they are all nice, passionate, dedicated, and extremely talented individuals. I am sure we will make a great team. Also, to be a part of a team with three other American riders is comforting as I start my first season in Europe. The management has been incredibly organized and professional and have supported me from the moment I signed with the team.
What was and still is the role of success coach/trainer Manel Lacambra in your career?
Manel was and continues to be an instrumental part in my success and my progression in cycling. From the first time I worked with Manel on the US National Team until now, I have improved dramatically. Manelís philosophy is to win, but to always have fun doing it. He expects the most out of his riders, even more than we believe we are capable of. When you think you are giving 100%, he finds a way to make you give 120 %. He makes everyone feel that they are part of a team and that we win and lose together. His passion for cycling is clear and he is as much a part of the team as any rider. To have a director who is as involved and knowledgeable of the sport as Manel, makes racing just a little bit easier. And in this sport, itís those small advantages that make some teams win and others not.
The team is going to ride in Europe and North America. What will your schedule look like more or less?
I will start the season with the Tour of New Zealand, then I will race all the spring classics in Europe. In America, I will only race Philly, Nature Valley and Nationals, which will be excellent preparation for the Giro dí Italia. The rest of the season I will focus my training and racing for my principle goal, which is the World Championships.
Showing the new team kit of Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan on training. Photo ©
In which races would you like to peak for this season?
As this will be my first year racing in Europe, I would like to be good for the teamís most important races. For our team, the most important goal is the Giro díItalia, and of course I will like to be strong for Nationals and Worlds.
Itís going to be your fifth season as a cyclist if I am correct. In these years you have accomplished a lot. In which facets /parts do you still want to grow?
In everything. There is always room for improvement and new things to learn about myself and the sport. This year I will be surrounded by very strong and talented teammates in all areas of the sport. This will help me learn and grow a lot.
You are also competing in Track races. With the recent change in the Olympic Track program are you still going to combine it towards the Olympic Games in London next year? Or will the focus fully turn onto the road?
My focus has already entirely turned to the road. I am not racing track at all anymore. However, I continue to enjoy it and use it as part of my training.
Where are you based in Europe during the season? And did you get the time to explore the new environment already.
We are based in Montebelluna, Italy. No, I have not had the chance to explore the area, but Italy is a beautiful country and I am sure it will be nice. I know that the team is improving in everything and that we just took a nice new team house for the girls.
She will start her season as defending champion in the Tour of New Zealand followed by all the European spring classics. Photo ©
Who do you train with, and where is your favourite training area? In the USA, in Europe?
I train alone and with a group sometimes. I prefer training in Europe at the moment, because it is new to me and the weather is perfect.
You think that womenís pro races should be lengthened in distance than most of them are now?
Yes of course. If the distance increases, the results will reveal the strongest riders.
What do you think about the radioís in the race? And the fact the UCI and the national associations want to ban it or already banned it out of some races.
I think we need the radios in the race, not only for the safety of the riders, but also for the progression of the sport. When we are able to communication in the race, riders without experience are able to develop more. They learn on the fly, much easier than after the race is over and the moment is gone. With direction from a coach, riders will take chances or make actions they would otherwise not make, and this leads to their growth and gives them experience they can learn from. In this sense, womenís cycling is different than menís cycling. We do not have the same experience and the radios help us to be safe, be better riders, and race better.
Shelley will be the main sprinter of the team. Photo ©
You're an Associate Coach for Whole Athlete. Do you coach your team mates as well, or do you leave that for the sports-directors?
I coach athletes in cycling, but not any riders from my team.
I have heard you are probably aiming for a spot on the USA National team for the Cyclocross Worlds in Louisville 2013. Now the track has changed are we going to see you more in the cross races next winter?
At the moment, I am only focused for the road race until 2012. After that, we will see what happens.
What does Shelley do or love the most apart from cycling?
I love the ocean, enjoying time with family and friends, and good food.
What are your long term career goals as a person and cyclist?
Be happy. I want to always be passionate about what I am doing, whether it is racing or working somewhere else. My dream has always been to represent my country in the Olympic Games.
Last but not least. You are in a race, the finish is 300 meters from the final turn. Your in the final kilometre... talk us through your set up and final 500 meters as you go for the victory..
I am 100 % focused and in the moment. I want to win the race. I am engaged and my adrenaline is pumping, and I am loving every second of it.
Check here for a previous interview of Shelley with The Daily Peloton from last year.
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