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Interview with Svein Tuft

by Andrew Rogers

June 3, 2011 – Svein Tuft (SpiderTech p/b C10) was experiencing a solid 2011 season abroad until his stomach fell out, and so did his late spring – but he’ll spring “back soon,” says Tuft. At the Amgen Tour of California, the Langley, BC-rider was in the process of recovering after getting slammed by a strong virus two weeks prior in Turkey, and was nowhere near his ususal form.

After a mediocre performance in the stage where he excels, a 24km time trial held in Solvang on May 20th, Tuft was happy to chat with us, “We’ll try to continue to get some good results for the team in California, keep Pat McCarty’s KoM jersey on his back.”

Initially, SpiderTech was hoping to be reaping more accolades with Svein on podium at the TT in Solvang, but, “…physically, Svein got thrown off his plans after having a great Spring in Europe,” commented Josee Larocque of SpiderTech p/b C10, “but he’ll be back on form soon.”

Does it bother him that he was not 100 percent, or even 75 percent? Tuft is optimistic for 2011. “It’s been a rough Tour, I’ve never been that sick in my life. I’m just trying to stick on track, but with the antibiotics I’ve never gotten the power back.

“I’m not sure how it happened, but when I was in Turkey in early May, the virus hit me for longer than normal. I couldn’t get on a bike for five days. Nrmally it lasts a few days, but that’s life, and I’ve got many races to go.”

Tuft, although a specialist in individual pursuit races, is more focused on the larger good. “At least the others are riding well, and it’s not me just waiting to do the time trial, we’ve all got our jobs. With my personal health, I’m fit, but my form is not what I expected – but there’s no control over that kinda stuff, and it’s fine. I’m here to support and defend Pat (McCarty’s) mountain jersey. He’s been riding so well, it’s been fantastic, and hope we lock down the KoM jersey on Mt. Baldy [he did].”

And after this roadblock is lifted? “My personal goals for this year are the ProTour races in Canada [in Sept.], and being competitive in August in Europe in the criteriums… and of course the Road Nationals and the Tour de Beauce [both in June].”

Tuft joined the revitalized SpiderTech p/b C10 squad, Canada’s first Pro Conti team, after his solid performances in 2010 and following unusual circumstances when was left without a team after the 2010 Road Worlds. Pegasus Sport his new team at the time had failed to meet UCI criteria.

“Being on a Canadian team, when I was left in that situation last September [without a team], and these guys wanted me with open arms, it was awesome. And a bunch of Canadian guys I’ve known and raced with for some many years, with so much time on the road, it’s so much better – you can’t be miserable on the job.”

And now that he’s being guided by Steve Bauer, Canada’s most acclaimed pro roadie, Tuft, who has been under the wings of some the best DS’s in the sport, was effusive. “Steve has been awesome, when we go to Belgium, we have the extra motivation. Steve gets us on top knowing all the courses, he makes all our lives, especially the new guys, easier – it’s a whole other world over there.”

When asked about the difference racing here and in Europe, Tuft admitted, “The American races are hard, but over there it’s tough and just different, and many of out riders are new to the European weather and races.

“Ryan Anderson, Zach Bell and Keven Lcombe, they’re younger and all adept cyclists and very sharp. We’re all learning stuff together by talking about the courses, the subtle things are important, but we need to experience the small details together, and figure it out by example on the bike.”

When prodded about sprinters and lead-outs on SpiderTech, Tuft says. “Just getting the lead-out to play well, it takes a while to master it and win races. But we’re learning every race, who has the certain skills, who can be there at the moment of execution, it’s like a chess game.”

Are more sprint wins in SpiderTech’s future? “I feel like we’ve been meshing well, and we are getting better every time, for the next and opportunity. That’s all we can ask…”.

In 2014 SpiderTech hopes to bid for a berth at the Tour de France, just three summers away. “It’s feasible, we keep growing, the trajectory and growth has been better than expected, the sponsors have been coming on board in a really short time. There’s no reason this Canadian team can’t make that happen. You just have to look ahead, there has never been a better opportunity for growth on such a team.”

Despite finishing 48th out of 126 riders in the time trail at the Tour of California and ending up 98th overall Tuft felt the ToC was a winner, “We defended the KoM jersey [defeating Levi Leipheimer by 15 points], and had some strong performances by the team. We’re growing together really fast, I’m happy and lucky to be on this team, it’s shaping up better every race. We wanted to end this with a bang in California… looks like we did.”

The next big target for Tuft and the SpiderTech boys is the Tour de Beauce, Canada’s only UCI-level stage race running from June 14-19, where the Langley, BC rider won the overall in 2008. He’s got plenty of time to regroup so look for more fireworks in June – read more on Team SpiderTech at Beauce here.

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