May 20, 2010 (Santa Cruz, CA) – Having already showed good form early in his 2010 season with numerous top five and top ten finishes to date, Rob Britton (Bissell) is one of the brightest names on Canada’s professional road cycling horizon.
A native of Victoria, British Columbia, Britton showed such good form at the 2009 Mt. Hood Classic (with a stage win and placing fifth overall) that fellow Canuck Eric Wohlberg, Director for Bissell, who has kept an eye on Britton, commented, “Rob is a selfless, team-oriented rider who has the ability to win when the situation presents itself. Rob’s particular ability to TT and climb will add to our race day arsenal.”
At his first Tour of California, Britton is already proving invaluable despite the chaos of crashes in the first two stages – and showing his promise in yesterday’s break (Stage 4) with Ryan Anderson (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies who gained enough points to take the KOM jersey which he hopes he can protect in Friday’s grueling climbs at Big Bear on Stage 6. We caught up with Britton before the start of today’s stage…
Yesterday in Stage 4 what made you decide to attack early in the stage?
RB: When the right moment presented itself I went, and then attrition began as the climb and pace made it hard to stay, we were five out there. It felt really good for most of the race (184km/115 miles)…I hope to try again, we’ll see.”
How does it feel to be racing at the Tour of California ?
RB: This is one of the best tours in the world, so even though I’ve already raced in big stage races in other countries – not to the level of this – its really exciting to go from the amateur to the pro ranks so fast and smoothly.”
Have you reconned many of the stages here?
RB: Being in Santa Cruz training with the others has been perfect way to recon a few stages, and having a lot of California riders on the team, we know most of the stages already.
What kind of prep work did you do for your first ToC – any changes to your usual training?
RB: Recovery is the key, I used to feel if I wasn’t going hard then I wasn’t working, but I can feel the difference now. I can train more and harder when I need to as long as I put in the recovery time. Luckily, that I have some great training partners in Santa Cruz (Jaques -Maynes brothers, et. al), so its great to race on our training sites.
The Tour of the Gila had brutal stages, how does this compare? And aren’t you feeling a bit sluggish having just raced at the Joe Martin stage race?
RB: It was a good gamble to race there before coming here. I’ve been feeling strong with enough racing in my legs and I think that race got me ready even better – I’ve had enough recovery time in between. But this Tour? It’s another level than any race I’ve ever been in – and I expect it will have even more surprises in the suffering register.
What are your goals here at the Tour of California?
RB: I’m here to help the guys, Ben Jaques-Maynes, whose local knowledge is key, and personally it’s great to able to measure myself up against some of the best talent in the world. So I’m just happy to be contributing and helping Jeremy Vennel (24th GC) and Paul Mach (27th on GG), who has already had a great Tour donning the KoM jersey after Stage 1.
Any other stages that you’ll try to break away in again?
RB: Yes, I’m hoping I can show some good form in other stages…and the last stage (Thousand Oaks) is going to be nasty, an awful day of racing. It’s going to deliver drama for sure.”
Good luck and with the rest of the season.
RB: Thank you
Thursday’s 5th stage race takes the riders to Bakersfield from Visalia, which has opportunities for breaks with a climb over Old Stage road at around 3,500 ft elevation and a fast relatively flat finish into the heartland of California.