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Interview with Oscar Sevilla
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 2/12/2003
Interview with Oscar Sevilla

Interview courtesy of Original article is here.

Oscar Sevilla will start the 2003 as the only leader of the Kelme-Costa Blanca team, a situation that does not bother, not for the increased pressure that it can mean, but because it seems to motivate the native of Ossa de Montiel.

The leader of Kelme-Costa Blanca maintains the always present sympathy, the same baby face that has made him famous worldwide...but at 26 years old, he seems determined not to stumble again on the same stone - "the lack of showing his true colors."

How will the Tour de France preparation be?

Oscar Sevilla: More or less all will be very similar to last year. I will do races with only one change: I will not take part in the Dauphine Libere and I will go to the Volta a Catalunya. The team will not travel to France due to the cuts in the roster, and to me i'ts good to race the Volta because it's close to the Tour, has high mountain stages and it allows you to see what you will have to face at the Vuelta a Espaņa. I have always had a liking for the Volta a Catalunya.

There's no big changes in the calendar, but how about the preparation?

O.S: Yes, a few changes have been made. This winter I have done less bicycle and more physical work than ever before. I have gone more to the gym, I have swum more and I have run a lot, something that in the last few years I have not been able to do because of discomfort from my knees. Because this winter nothing has bothered me, I have run and worked physically, but without the bike. My first serious encounter with the bicycle was on December 20. But the most important change has been another one.

Which one?

O.S: This winter I have rested, something than in other years I have not done. I went for 20 days to Canarias, to enjoy the good weather and to disconnect from everything a little bit. I have gone to less award ceremonies, less dinners, less social events, because last year I arrived at the beginning of the season saturated. That has changed and I believe that I'm also able to change my mentality and take things with more ease.

One of the few criticisms that one can hear from Vicente Belda about you is that in certain moments you are too professional.

O.S: Well, Vincente exaggerates (laughs). What happens is that I am known to train a lot, and it's not entirely true, because what happens is that is easy for me to gain form and I don't need much work. Also I'm aware that Vicente is in part correct in that; and I have tried to work on it this winter: rest well, arrive fresh, and with the desire to train at the beginning of the season and to have peace, because there's plenty of time until July and one must not squeeze too early.

What are you doing right now in the preseason?

O.S: Well, Wednesday the 29th was the first day I went over 100 kilometers in a training session and physically I found myself well. The intention is to leave the gym and center myself around the work with the bicycle. Also I'm going to take part in some races to enjoy the good weather and train.

What races?

O.S: Right now I thought to travel to Mallorca and to Communitat Valenciana. You profit from the good weather, the presence of masseurs, mechanics, the supporting staff, that are important people because all you have to worry about is to train. At home it is still cold to train and you also have the advantage of having teammates.

After all the departures, will the team hurt?

O.S: I don't think so. Furthermore, I think we have a better block than last year.

Keeping in mind the loss of Botero, of Aitor Gonzalez...

O.S: Yes, I said despite these departures. Perhaps we will not get as many victories as in 2002, but what's certain is that I will be wrapped around my teammates, and the young ones will give lots of surprises.

What do you refer to as "wrapped around?"

O.S: In other years, we had more than one leader. That has a good part, because the responsibility is shared, but also has a bad part. I think that this year, with only one leader, the team will be more compact in certain crucial moments of a race. The base of Kelme is the same and we have young people capable of doing big things.

According to you, who makes up the base of Kelme?

O.S: Unquestionably the entire team, but riders like Cabello, who is fundamental to getting wins, thus liberating the rest of the team from pressure, and the Tour block. Quique Gutierrez and Toni Tauler are for me, more than teammates. They are friends and people whom one can always trust. They are the pillars of the team and we will try this year to add people like Manzano, who will do the same calendar as me.

And the young people?

O.S: We have an excelent base. Jose Cayetano Julia will do the Tour. Valverde is some rider and will start the season strong, David Muņoz is also going well. There are many, and that's the base for the future.

In hindsight, after the winter months, what happened to Oscar Sevilla in 2002?

O.S: Well many things happened to me, but the first and fundamental one was the fall at the Dauphine Libere. From that moment everything started to go wrong, a stumble. And it was sad, because all of my stress tests from 2002 were better than in the fall of 2001. 

The accident marked you that much?

O.S: Yes, because the infection was very severe and it affected the performance that I had at the Tour. Afterwards I wanted to force things to arrive at the Vuelta, because I only had 15 days to train, and I became heated against the clock, but that's not the best way to do things. At the end, I finished fourth, which for me was the best place I could get, taking in consideration the lack of conditioning in which I raced. Even today I have discomforts from that fall.

What discomforts?

O.S: Well, I have a small blood clot from the big bruise and sometimes it bothers me. With specific massages around the area I'm getting better, but perhaps I will have to go to get it extracted to avoid bigger complications with the season underway.

What lessons did you learn from what happened in 2002?

O.S: Many. For the first time in my life things went wrong. It was the first time in which I had to face important mishaps and I came out stronger mentally from all that happened. If you think about Lance Armstrong, 90% of his victories are based in his head rather than in his physical qualities. He has a confidence in his possibilities, a self security that makes him different from the rest. I have admired him because of this and all the beatings that I took last year will serve to help me mature.

Speaking of Armstrong, will he get his fifth Tour?

O.S: Until now he is the strongest, but so was Indurain before failing in his sixth Tour. You never know. My aspirations? I aspire to lock elbows with the people from the second tier: Heras, Beloki, Botero. There's about half a dozen riders that can contest for a podium spot and I think I can be amongst them.

You commented that in 2002 you went through bad moments. One of them occurred at the Angliru. What's your current relation with Aitor Gonzalez?

O.S: A good one. Aitor and I are not friends, because we have never been, but my relation with him is good. If we see each other training, we salute each other, we stop to talk and spend a moment chatting, just like with any other cyclist with whom I'm not close to, but with whom I get along with well. Aitor is within his group. There's no problem with him and I will be the first to recognize that he won the Vuelta a Espaņa 2002 clear and simple because he was stronger than the rest of us, although he could have gained the same result in another way.

What did you learn from all that happened?

O.S: What you commented to me before. My mentality is changing and I have realized that I have to be more cautious, to have more roguishness, to show my true colors, and in certain moments, to raise the voice and say loudly what I want to be done.

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