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Adam Bergman: Have You Seen the Start List for Georgia?
By Staff
Date: 4/15/2004
Adam Bergman: Have You Seen the Start List for Georgia?

By Charlie Melk

New faces appear in the peloton from year to year, but every once in a while one of those new faces stands out just a little bit more than the others. When this happens, one gets the impression that a special future may await such a person.

In less than a full year as a professional, Adam Bergman has made great strides toward becoming that rider that his early results so clearly promise. Starting the season in fine style with his recent third overall at Redlands, the first real test on the US domestic calendar, Adam tells us a bit about his past, present, and future.

Adam Bergman. Photo by Daily Peloton.

Adam, thanks for taking the time to do this interview.

You’re more than welcome. I am a big fan of the Daily Peloton, so it's exciting to actually have an interview on the site.

Great, we’re happy to have you. By the way, congratulations on your third place overall at Redlands! That’s quite an accomplishment, especially considering the depth of the field and the fact that you were fighting off a cold.

It was definitely a special result, especially since it was my first Redlands and I had never raced at that high of a level so early in the year. It is a real testament to how good my teammates are for helping guide me throughout the stages. I think this will be just a stepping stone for the team and myself this season.

Turning pro with Jelly Belly last year must have been a dream come true, and you got right down to business at the Nature Valley Grand Prix, with two top tens and one top five, and one podium finish out of the five stages, ending up seventh overall. You were at the front all week with some pretty elite company, like Ciaran Power, Tim Johnson, John Lieswyn, Tom Danielson, and Mark McCormack, to name a few. How did it feel to be so competitive with the cream of the U.S. domestic scene right from the start, and in your home state on top of it?

It felt unbelievable to jump straight into a Jelly Belly jersey and be able to pull off those results in my home state. Leading up to Nature Valley Grand Prix I was getting some good results. With a 2nd at Elite Nationals and 4th at Snake Alley, I knew I had good form and could maybe make something out of a stage or two. Being with the leaders everyday was something special for me and my family in Minnesota.

Those are some great results. Congratulations on your silver medal at Elite Nationals, by the way. Also, there’s no hiding at Snake Alley, is there? That course is really amazing—a true test of form. I’m grimacing in pain, just remembering my only experience there.

That’s right, there is no such thing as hiding on the Snake, and a front row start is almost a must there too, because of how narrow it gets. Supposedly, it is the most crooked street in America.

Snake Alley...

Yeah, that is one crooked street, in more ways than one, and a special crit. After the Nature Valley Grand Prix, Mark McCormack and John Lieswyn, most notably, were praising your ride and predicting great things for your future. How does it feel to have earned the respect of two of the best racers in the US peloton?

Mark and John have been around the pro scene for a long time, and one can only hope that their predictions are right. Respect from my peers is great and all, but what is truly great is seeing that my family is proud of me. They’re my biggest fan club and I have to thank them a lot for being so supportive throughout the years.

Well, I get the feeling that they wouldn’t have complimented you without good cause, and I also like the fact that you include your family in your thanks. It’s hard to make it in this sport without that initial, and ongoing, support from your family.

It really is. I can say I wouldn’t still be in the sport today if it weren’t for their continued support.

Turning to your director—it must be fantastic to work with Danny Van Haute. His eye for talent is legendary. The confidence he showed in signing you must be very encouraging. How has he influenced your approach to racing since you joined Jelly Belly last year?

It may seem unusual to say this about a director, but Danny really is a dream come true. The excitement and enthusiasm he brings is mind blowing. He truly loves the sport and I think that has really rubbed off on everyone on Jelly Belly.

Right, when that sincere exuberance is there from the director, it just naturally filters through to the rest of team. Sounds like a great fit for all of you.

It really does. Everyone on the team is physically worthy of being here, but that means nothing if we don’t have any drive and determination, and I think Danny helps give us that.

Has your training changed a lot since you turned pro—if so, in what ways?

My base volume has been bumped up a bit and I have been focusing a lot more attention on climbing. I like to do a lot of tempo and just started doing it more on long climbs. This will change now that I am back in Madison, Wisconsin, but I will have more time to do specific intervals on the TT bike. I am also thinking about adding an SRM meter to help gauge training better.

Bergman in second position behind Ciaran Power at Stage 1 of the 2003 Nature Valley Grand Prix.
Courtesy Minn Bike Festival, photo by Steven Pottenger.

That brings up a good point. Now that you’re back in Madison, and your riding environment has changed considerably, take us through a typical day of your training. How much TT-specific work are you doing these days?

What Madison lacks in length of climbs, it sure makes up for in quantity and gradient, so I should have no problem working on my power. Madison is such a nice area to train. There are so many little roads here, that I still get lost on rides. I’m still dialing in my TT bike, so the more time on it now the better. I’ll be on it 3 days a week right now leading up to Georgia. I need a lot more work in longer time trials, so I like doing 3-4 x 20-30 min intervals right below LT.

True, Madison is a great area in which to train—lots of short, steep climbs, not a lot of traffic, and the surrounding countryside is beautiful, too. On top of that, there is a good community of quality riders in the area.

In fact, I just went motor pacing with a very strong up and coming rider, Bryan Smith. He is racing on the elite Endeavor team. I think he’ll be opening a few eyes in a year or two.

I’ve just recently heard of Bryan—thanks for the heads up. Now to your team—Jelly Belly/Aramark changed quite a bit over the winter, adding some podium depth with the addition of riders like Jonas Carney and Alex Candelario, who went on to win a stage of Redlands to go along with your excellent 3rd overall, as well as numerous other talented younger riders. Does the team feel any different this season?

Jelly Belly/Aramark is a totally different team this year. The sponsors Jelly Belly, Aramark, and Orbea, our bike sponsor, have really stepped it up to bring together a great group of guys. The horsepower Danny was able to add, combined with the 5 returning members is incredible. Now with the confidence growing in the team, it feels like we can win anything. The early season results are only the beginning. We’re going to win something big this year.

Candelario tests out Adam's Orca. Photo by Daily Peloton.

Yeah, I got a very good feeling from the Jelly Belly-Aramark Team during Redlands. It was as if anything was possible this year. Do you see the playing field, so to speak, as being more level this year, with the demise of a team like Saturn, a team that pretty much dominated the U.S. domestic scene last year?

The talent racing domestically has spread out a little more evenly this year and that should keep the season exciting all the way ‘til T-Mobile International. There will still just be a handful of dominant teams, but it will be a lot more wide open and the peloton will be a lot less controlled, I believe.

How did your winter preparation go? How much time did you spend in the Midwest as opposed to sunny California and Arizona?

My winter prep got off to a real late start. To make a long story short, a bus ran over my arm at the Tour of Guatemala in late October. It took two full months of therapy to get it to work properly again. Even now it still isn’t 100%, but it is getting there. In January I left for Tucson and was there off and on, with trips to training camp and races in California. I was able to get a big volume of quality miles while there in Tucson, and was essentially just racing Redlands with base. So in the end I guess my winter preparation went well.

Ouch! I’m glad that you weren’t more seriously hurt in the accident. As far as Redlands goes, if you did that well there on mainly base miles, things must be looking pretty good for your upcoming races, right?

Hopefully—I had to take some time off the bike after Redlands to finally kick the illness I picked up there. That could hurt me going into Georgia, but it is a long season and I think that extra time off will help me peak better going into June for Philly week.

Bergman on the podium in third overall at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Photo by Daily Peloton.

Speaking of your upcoming races, what does your schedule look like for this season?

Danny gave me a nice schedule. Tour de Georgia is up next. Then come two smaller races in Arkansas in May (Joe Martin and Tri-Peaks), leading up to the Wachovia series, Nature Valley Grand Prix, and Olympic Trials. Then I will be doing races like Superweek, Tour de Toona, the Vail circuit race, and T-Mobile International. There will probably be a few smaller races in between, but these are the major ones.

That sounds like a fantastic schedule.You’re hitting all of the premier events in the US. With so many worthy goals to choose from, are there any specific races at the top of the hit-list for you specifically, and the team in general?

Jelly Belly/Aramark’s number one goal is to be top 3 on the NRC standings at year’s end. So any race we line up at with points available we’ll be gunning for the win. My personal goals are in the month of June. This will be my first USPRO Championship. It will be a learning experience, but I was third at Redlands and that was also my first, so I don’t see why I can’t do something special there. Also, there is Nature Valley, and I would love to get a result in my home state. Finally, there is the all important Olympic Trials, and I’ll race my heart out to get a Jelly Belly Jersey to the line first. It would be huge for the team to put any one of us on the Olympic team for Athens. I would also love to be able to get into Tour l’Avenir, but it ends a day before T-Mobile International.

I like the way you and the team approach the big races—prepare well, but don’t psych yourselves out. If you don’t believe it’s possible, who else will, right?

Exactly, confidence in oneself and team is so important at this level to get the job done, and I believe Jelly Belly has this mentality.

Bergman leads Kirk Albers on a team ride. Photo by Daily Peloton.

It seems to me that you are a guy for the tougher races—the races of attrition; which bodes well for your immediate future in tough UCI events like the USPRO Championships, the Tour of Georgia, and the T-Mobile International, among others, of course. In regards to cycling, where do you see yourself in 3 years time?

I really haven’t thought that far ahead. I’m not someone that looks too far into the future. But to answer the question, I still think I have a long ways to go before I can consistently get top results here in the US. Ultimately, I need to be in Europe in three years to continue to improve to the highest level. But that is a long way off, and right now I am having a great time racing domestically. There are plenty of high quality hard races here like you mentioned that suit my style of racing.

Right—building a solid base for the future is an ongoing process, and you’re off to a fantastic start as a pro. I have the feeling that we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of both you and your teammates this season. Did you want to say hi to anyone?

I just want to say thanks to all the people that have helped me over the years in life and cycling, especially my mom and dad, my sister, and my girlfriend.

Thanks once again, Adam. I know that I speak for a lot of us when I say that we will be following your progress this season with a lot of enthusiasm. Good luck in your preparation for the Tour of Georgia.

Thanks, I need all the luck I can get. Have you seen the start list for Georgia?

Read an article about Adam Bergman from last summer here.

Ben Brooks, Alex Candelario, Adam and Kirk Albers discuss the merits of the Obrea Orca; Alex liked it so much he has two. Photo by Daily Peloton.

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