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New Kid on the Block: Adam Bergman
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 8/15/2003
New Kid on the Block: Adam Bergman
 


Courtesy Peoria Bicycle Club

I first met Adam Bergman at the Valley of the Sun race earlier this year. Off to a tough start, the pro team he had signed for, D&R Sportivo/Dolce Vita, collapsed at the start of the NRC season, leaving his teammates and him in the lurch. And a shame, as Adam had been offered a contract with another team which had filled its roster by the time the team disappeared. 40th in the Valley of the Sun Season opener in Tucson, he stayed on in Tucson to train before returning home to the frozen roads of Minnesota.

Adam was talking to teams, but like many talented riders in the spring of 2003, it looked like he had missed his opportunity for a pro contract this year. He impressed me as a rider with great desire to continue in spite of the false start to the season; when I saw his resume of wins for 2002 I was realised Adam had the talent and it was only a matter of time before we started seeing his name at the top of the results.

Adam returned home to work and continued to tear up the roads in local races in Minnnesota. At the Snake Alley Criterium Adam finished fourth. As he said, " I was sprinting for third but I pulled out of my pedal."† In between it was two victories in the Old Capital Crit and Wheels on Willy with a 5th overall in the Joe Martin Stage race.

I caught up with Adam in May after the elite Nationals RR: "For me I had really mixed feelings. I felt it showed that I am probably one of maybe 3 of the strongest amateurs in the states at 22. I was so disappointed that I didn't win. Snow Valley was the strongest team there, but I was the strongest. They had four guys in the front group of 20. So they kept attacking on the descents with 10 miles remaining and the eventual winner (Mike Voight/Snow Valley) and a Broadmark Capital guy got away. At this point I had no teammates left so I couldn't cover it all. I waited for the final 5 miles with a total of 3 miles of climbing to attack. At this point the break had 1:45 on the pack. I kept watching Steven Cates to attack. He didn't. I finally did, with only Cates able to follow. I was real worried that he wasn't pulling through hard. So I made a mistake and saved some for the sprint, which I shouldn't have. With a 1km to go we caught. Allan Calvin (Broadmark Cap) and Brian Smith caught us.

"I had to settle for second, winning the sprint; we finished only 35 seconds down on Voight. If I wasn't so worried about Cates I would have caught Voight, but then, Cates might have been stronger at the end." Adam finishes philosophically, "Oh well, thats road racing."

In June at the Nature GP after a brief illness, Adam, who had just signed for Jelly Belly, showed up to work ready to impress, and he did. The rider from Lino Lakes, Minnesota, garnered third place on the opening stage and compliments from his competitors.

Ciaran Powers (Navigators): "It was obvious he was really, really strong. It took a lot for me to get around him."

Mark McCormack (Saturn) was equally impressed:† "He's got a good future in American racing if he sticks with it. It's great to see someone stick his neck out there. He could have sat in a lot more, but he didn't."

The crowd, and Bergman, took the second-place finish as a victory. "It really means a lot to me," said Bergman, of Lino Lakes. "It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the weekend."

Bergman continued to "surprise" with a blistering 6 mile ITT on the second day only 20 seconds off Tom Danielson of Saturn. Adam moved into the leader's jersey by a mere second. Day three in the Criterium he rode a conservative race and dropped to third at 44 seconds. "I had no teammates today, so I had to conserve some of my energy for Saturday and Sunday," he said. ďIím confident I can give it a go. Iíll definitely be a threat."

Stage 4 - a chance meeting with a curb while in the lead breakaway put him a minute behind finishing the day in seventh. "What am I going to do, it is my fault. The curbs donít move." The accident put the G.C. out of reach, ninth place showed his performance was no fluke.

The Proctor Cycling Classic in June saw Mr. Bergman at the top of the podium with teammate Chris Fisher (Jelly Belly) and former team mate Jeremy Sartain of Bianchi Grand performance.

A year that had started looking like a disaster was developing into an excellently. As Adam said, "I am getting real focused with my training leading up to Superweek, which should get me into good form again for my next objective† - The International (Tour da Toona)."

Superweek included two podiums, 3rd at Festina Alpine RR, 3rd at Noodles & Company RR, and two 4th place finishes at the Heritage Spare Crit and Holy Hill RR with a 27th place in points.

The Toona: Starting the race ill and treating with antibiotics, Adam led off with 6th in the opening TT. Staying within striking distance of a podium place during the next five days, the tiring effect of the antibiotics were sapping his strength. On Stage 6 when Tom Danielson (Saturn) attacked on Blue Knob, Bergman was the last to let go. Watching a possible podium ride away from him, illness and treatment had taken their toll. Adam finished 6th on the G.C.

The next day was the New York Cycling Championship which saw Adam finishing in good company - finishing 13th with the15 man lead group. Adam is now preparing for a West Coast swing with the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, San Raphael Classic and the San Francisco Grand Prix, where you will be able to see him racing in the Jelly Belly colors. Certainly Adam has moved into the position of† "marked man" in the pro peloton and is worth keeping your eye on as a "Young Gun." I recently talked to Adam and here is our conversation.


Adam wins the Proctor Classic Cycling Road Race.
Photo courtesy of Cyclingphotonews.

Vaughn Trevi: Adam I have been following you since we met in Phoenix at the Valley of the Sun. I know you have been ripping up the roads in the Midwest and you had signed with a pro team that collapsed on you. It must have been the worst to have that happen to you your first year pro... but later this year you got a shot to sign on with Jelly Belly. What was that like for you?

Adam Bergman: In the early spring I was devastated mentally. I thought I had a solid contract with a new D3 team, D&R Sportivo, but when the owner of the team put off signing my contract and the director didnít even show up to training camp, I knew this team was a just pipe dreams. The amateur team I rode for last year, Grand Performance/Bianchi, based out of St. Paul, to my relief, was more than happy to take me back. Without them, I donít think my season would have gone so well. Because the club put my mind immediately at ease. I could get back to concentrating on training and racing. The day before the elite national road race in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, I received a voicemail from Danny Van Haute, offering a spot on Jelly Belly/Carlsbad Clothing. That was a big confidence boost because he was interested in me for my past results, not just for a 2nd place finish at nationals.

VT: Congrats on signing with Jelly Belly. You mentioned when we talked before that you were keen to be on the team because an experienced pro, Danny Van Haute, will be your D.S. Danny has some great palmares as a rider: seven times National Champion, 7-11 Cycling Team and as a coach for the U.S. Olympic team, National Jr. Coach and Commonwealth Coach. Do you feel lucky to be on Danny's team?

AB: Absolutely. With Danny, Jelly Belly has always had guys getting pushed through the ranks with the likes of Jason McCartney, now with 7Up, and Damon Kluck with Postal. This just shows he has this crazy eye for talent and then can also raise his riders to new levels.

VT: Have you had a chance to meet any of your teammates yet?

AB: In my first race with Jelly Belly/Carlsbad Clothing, Great River Energy Bike Festival, I ended up racing alone because most of the team got sick after the USPRO Championships. Since then Iíve been doing races with a handful of teammates. Chris Fisher was the first rider I got to know so I was sad to here that he had decided to hang up his wheels. Best wishes to Fish with his new life. At the New York City Cycling Championships I finally was able meet and race the core group, with the likes of: Mariano, Bret, Ben and Kirk. They were all great and welcoming.

VT: When did you start racing, Adam? What first interested you in giving it a go?

AB: I was a total follower growing up. When I was 15 my two good friends (thanks Colin and Ben) one day decided to get mountain bikes. So I saved up every penny I had and with a little loan from the parents bought one myself. I eventually started racing and in 99 got a ride with the Gary Fisher Midwest team. After that season I was burnt out on the mountain bike scene. Since I was already doing well in road races around the Midwest, I decided to move to the road.

VT: Do you consider yourself a climber, sprinter or an all round rider? What is your favorite kind of race?

AB: All rounder, at least this is what I would like to be known as. Coming from a fairly flat state like Minnesota, I can handle the wind and short steep climbs, but it has only been in last two years, that I have matured and been able to climb with the best state side. Eventually I would like to be more of a threat for the overall in week long or longer stage races. That is why I have finally been taking time trialing more seriously. I even cracked and bought my own TT bike. I think this and specific training has shown some hint that there is a time trialist in me with a 4th place in Great River Energy Bike Festival time trial and a 6th at Tour de Toona TT.

VT: Your favorite pro rider whom you would like to model your pro career against?

AB: I would say IĎm a closet Lieswyn fan, of 7Up. John has achieved huge results over the years, for the most part with lesser support, compared to other big teams in the States. I also like the fact that he doesnít just rise to the occasion in certain events that suit his style. Whenever I race against him, no matter the terrain, he is always willing to give it a go. I really have to respect that.

VT: True about John - any pro race he is right there at the front. Is there any one you would like to thank for their support?

AB: Both my Mom and Dad have always supported me in my cycling; without them I might have not persisted and continued. My Mom always inspired me especially the last two years. She was my big inspiration, I lost her this year to cancer. She was so sick but never let me know how bad it was so I would not worry about her. I remember this when I am suffering in a race I would have to say she is my biggest inspiration. Thanks Mom and Dad.

VT: What race are you preparing for now, and are you looking forward to lining up at the start for the San Francisco Grand Prix?

AB: San Fran is exactly what I am preparing for. I am taking it easy through USPRO crits, after that it is time to focus and prepare for September 14. Then the year will wrap up with the Tour of Guatemala at the end of October.

Profile

Birth date: 8/30/80
Age: 22 yrs
5'11" 150lbs.
Racing 7 years

Palmares

2003
--1st Altoona Spring Circuit Race
--GC 5th Joe Martin Stage Race
--2nd Al Kreitler Memorial Road Race
--1st Old Capitol Memorial Criterium
--1st Wheels on Willy
--2nd Elite National Road Race
--4th Snake Alley Crtierium
--Stage 1 2nd Great River Energy Bike Festival
--Stage 2 4th Great River Energy Bike Festival
--Stage 3 17th Great River Energy Bike Festival
--Stage 4 7th Great River Energy Bike Festival
--Stage 5 7th Great River Energy Bike Festival
--1st Proctor Cycling Classic Road Race
--5th Proctor Cycling Classic Criterium
--GC 1st Proctor Cycling Classic
--4th Wisconsin State Criterium
--1st Northfield Criterium
--1st Ring Around Saturn
--3rd Festina Tour Alpine Valley Road Race
--4th Ciao Cafť Tour of Holy Hill
--3rd Noodles & Company Lake Front RR
--4th Aurora Heritage Square Criterium
--GC 7th International Cycling Classic/Superweek
--GC 6th The International/ Tour de Toona
--13th New York City Cycling Championships
--3rd GP Rio Miss & Out Criterium
--11th GP Rio Road Race

2002
--1st Wendyís International Worthington stage (NCS)
--1st Holly Hill Superweek (NCS)
--1st KOM competion Tour of Altoona (NCS), 4th stage 4th, 10th stage 6th
--4th Four Bridges of Elgin, Most Aggressive rider, 2nd KOM
--1st Espoir at GP Zapopan 5-day stage race, 1st Combative Trophy, 4th overall
--38th Vuelta De la Juventud (U23) Guatemala (USA Motores Hino/Radio Punto Team):
†† Second in the G.C. at eleven seconds, First in Sprint, Second Combativity, Fourth in the Mtn Competition.
†† Stage 1: 2nd Foremost-Escuintla-Santa Lucia-Escuintla, 120 km
†† Stage 2: 3rd Villa Canales-El Morlon (3 laps)-Santa Elena Barrillas, 85 km
†† Stage 3: 1st Guatemala-Asiole-Palin (2 laps)-El Zope-San Lucas, 85 km
†† Stage 4: 4th Zone 15-el Molino-Las Conchas-El Jocotillo-Sta Elena, 135 km
†† Stage 5: 5th Circuit El Naranjo 8 laps, 96 km

With the Bianchi/Grand Performance Team:
--8th Nature Valley Grand Prix Stillwater Stage
--4th 2002 Tour Alpine Valley Road Race
--1st Proctor Cycling Classic RR
--1st Trek Road Race #2
--3rd Stage 2 Tour of Kansas City
--2nd Chris Lillig Cup
--5th Humboldt Park Superweek

Nature Valley GP Reports here:
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5


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