A Questionnaire from an Anonymous Rider ... and his honest answers.
From Tick at
1. Your motto, professional and personal.
A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.
2. What is the best thing about being a professional cyclist, and what is
The best: I can make my living doing what I love. I get to travel and I earn
more money than I would in any "normal" job.
The worst: I'm always on the road and never at home, which plays hell with
family relationships. And there's the constant worry about a new contract. And
3. What do you plan to do after your cycling career?
How the hell do I know? I have no training, no higher education. I have no
idea of what kind of job I might find. I can only hope that I will find a job in
the sport or that someone will hire me on the strength of my name.
4. The Sporting Director is...
My boss. He tells me what I must do, and then I must do it. If he says I have
to ride, then I have to ride, even if I don't want to or don't feel well or have
trouble at homes. He tries to be understanding, but he has a business -- our
team -- to see to.
5. Fans are...
One of the reasons to keep on riding. Their support and cheers are sometimes
the only things that keep me going. On some of those mountain stages with
thousands of fans lining the road...it's an incredible feeling, I can't describe
6. What is the worst, craziest, or most interesting experience you've ever
had with a fan?
Oh, man, there are all kinds of fans. Most of them really don't want anything
more than a photo or an autograph, but you can get just about anything you want
from some of them -- anything from sex to drugs.
7. What is your favorite race, and why?
Any one in which I have had a win -- which isn't very many.
8. What is your least favorite race, and why?
Any cold, rainy race in the early part of the season, where I know I won't
have any chance of doing well anyway, where everything hurts because I'm not in
top form yet, not to mention of risk of getting sick in the cruddy weather or
crashing in the rain and getting hurt.
9. Which is the most difficult climb?
Alpe d'Huez, Mortirolo, Angliru, all of the famous ones, actually, especially
when they're at the end of a stage. 99% of us don't have a prayer of winning
such a stage and after 200 km it's utter torture to force yourself up such a
mountain. Sometimes you think the only thing to do is to climb off your bike and
get in the team car, but you just can't do that -- you're always afraid that
that just might spell the end of your career in your SD's eyes.
10. Which of your fellow cyclists do you most respect?
All of them who have managed to have long careers, who are still healthy when
they retire, who manage to have careers afterwards...not that there are so many
11. What is your stand on doping?
I wish I could say it's a problem that doesn't exist, but I can't. You just
don't understand the fear that most of us live with -- fear of injuries, yes,
but even greater is the fear of not doing well, of not getting a new conrtact,
of not being employed -- and we simply do what he have to do to cope with that,
to help us ride as best we can. If dope will help us, we use it. We can really
only help that we don't get caught.
12. Do you have a family? If so, how do they feel about you being a
Sure, a wife and two kids. I missed both births because I was racing. My son
is seven, and I have been at home once for his birthday! My wife used to think
it was "glamorous" to be married to a pro cyclist -- now she has started taking
13. How did you get started in cycling?
Like all the kids in the neighborhood, I had a bike to get around with. Then
my parents insisted I take up a sport, and cycling seemed the obvious one. I
discovered I was good at it and I devoted myself to cycling instead of school. I
grabbed at a pro contract as soon as I could.
14. Who are your role models?
As a kid you want to ride like Indurain or Merckx or whoever. When you get
older you realize they went through the same shit you're going through, and just
try to get through each race as best you can.
15. What do you do in your free time?
Free time? Sleep, train, work out. I really try to spend as much time with my
family as possible, but...
16. What are your best and worst characteristics?
Best: I'm a hard worker and I always try to the right thing, even if it
doesn't always work out.
Worst: I know a lot of the things I do are wrong, like cheating on my wife or
using dope to improve my riding, but I do them anyway.
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