Interview: Eric Young 2011 USA Pro Criterium Champion
BISSELL Pro's 22 year
old NeoPro left a lasting impression after his first year in the pro peloton...
Luke Allingham: How did you get started in cycling?
Eric Young: I started riding during my
freshman year of college at Indiana University. I had been a runner and soccer
player in high school and was looking for something new to compete in. Indiana U. has
a very unique intramural cycling event called the Little 500, which was
showcased in the famed cycling movie Breaking Away.
Anyway, I came in contact with one of the teams, The Cutters, and began
riding with them. We won 3 Little 500's and this led to me racing over the
summers as a cat 5 and 4 and I steadily moved up through the amateur ranks. In
the fall of my senior year I began talking with Bissell and started racing as a
professional after my graduation.
L.A.: You're the current USA Criterium Champion, that was
a hell of a sprint by the way. Run us through a bit of what the race was like
Eric Young: The USPro Crit was definitely
my biggest result this year. The weather was crazy that day: started out nice
and sunny, then it started raining and the wind picked up, and with only a few
laps to go in the 80km race the officials stopped the race due to unsafe
Eric Young nips Brad Huff for the US Pro Criterium win..
Photo copyright Team BISSELL Pro
We restarted with 30 laps to go and it came down to a sprint finish. I went
through the last corner in 3rd position, with Brad Huff of Jelly Belly and we
both gave it everything out of the last corner. We were neck and neck the whole
straight away and only in the last few meters I pulled in front of him and won
by less then a bike length.
L.A.: How did you feel after you realized you had crossed
the line first and won?
Eric Young: I was obviously
ecstatic that I had just won the USPro Crit in my first year, but I was also
really happy because that is somewhat of a local race for my Bissell team. It
was located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is where several of our main
sponsors are based. So it was a very important race to the team and it worked
The whole squad rode very well in the horrible conditions and I'm really
happy that I was able to finish it for us.
L.A.: What was your Collegiate cycling experience like?
IEric Young: In collegiate cycling I
raced for Indiana University, and it was an awesome experience.
I graduated with a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. In Neuroscience. I
definitely enjoyed my studies but over the 4 years, cycling became my true
education and passion.
L.A.: During the 2010 season you won three Gold
medals at Collegiate Track Nationals; how did that feel?
Eric Young: Winning a collegiate national
championship is still a national championship! Also, the domestic pro teams
really do look at collegiate racers for younger riders that are improving.
In 2010 I raced at the
collegiate track nationals in Indianapolis, winning the points race, the match
sprint, and the omnium after also placing 3rd in the kilo. That was an
incredible weekend. It gave me the courage to believe that I could win on a big
stage, and definitely set the tone for the 2011 road season.
Winning your first national
championship is definitely an amazing feeling. Indiana University had a small group of motivated
riders and we also had a huge amount of fun that weekend. The points race was
the final event that weekend and I had to win in order to win the omnium, so
there was a good amount of pressure.
But I love that kind of pressure and it worked out great! The whole team did
very well and we placed 5th as a team, which we were very proud of.
L.A.: Would you recommend the Collegiate racing route to young riders who have
ambitions to go pro in the future?
Eric Young: If you are a person that is interested in getting a degree and racing your
bike, it's definitely the best option. And you can also race during the summer
with your normal trade team. Collegiate racing is a great
chance to prove yourself in a developmental setting while still being exposed to
some very talented riders.
L.A.: Do you enjoy track racing; do you have any ambitions
to race track during the 2012 season?
Eric Young: I really do enjoy track
racing, as it is so different from the road. I would love to be able to compete
at track nationals this year in the endurance events, but I'll have to wait and
see if it fits my schedule towards the end of the season.
yourself as a person and as a cyclist?
Eric Young: As a cyclist i would say that
I am a sprinter that still has a lot to learn in the sport and I'm very excited
to do so!
L.A.: Your thoughts on team BISSELL and your NeoPro
BISSELL had a great year in 2011! We won the overall team ranking in the NRC,
the USPro crit, a few other NRC races, and were prominent in all the major US
Very successful year. I had a ton of fun with the riders, staff, and sponsors
throughout the year: I don't think I could have hoped for a better NeoPro
season. And we'll be looking to build on that success in 2012!
Any races that you would like to take another shot at
for a win or you would like to race during 2012?
Eric Young: My biggest goals for 2012
include the Tour of California, Philly, and the USPro crit.
Who do you consider to be your biggest domestic
rivals in the sprints finishes for the 2012 season?
Eric Young: As for rivals, anyone can
have a good day, so I think anyone not wearing a Bissell jersey is a rival!
L.A.: You're currently 22, what are you ambitions for the near and
Eric Young: I'm definitely still new to
the sport and learning lots at each race. However, I do have long term
aspirations of racing in Europe at the highest level as well as competing for
the US and the world championships and the Olympics. Those goals are a long way
off though; so I'm going to concentrate on this year and hope for the best.
On your rider profile page on Team Bissell's website
you list the Tour of Elk Grove as your favorite races, can you tell us why that
is your favorite race?
Eric Young: Elk Grove was one of the
races I did well in as an amateur, as well as it is near my hometown of Geneva,
L.A.: Any hobbies that you enjoy doing off the bike
or do to relax?
Eric Young: I like to go hiking, camping,
skiing, and snowshoeing in the off season; anything that involves being outside
with friends or family.
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