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Josh Atkins talks Trek Livestrong
Sep 16th, 10. Josh Atkins talks to RoadCycling.co.nz about how he came to sign for Trek Livestrong in 2011, and what the opportunity means for his road and track careers.
"I am very excited to be part of Trek Livestrong for 2011. It is a big leap in my ambitions to becoming a pro-tour rider," Atkins said after announcing his signing to the U23 team last night.
See original story Josh Atkins joins Trek Livestrong - a summary of his 2010 year.
Atkins hasn't raced on the road overseas before, yet he still came to the attention of one of the top development teams for young riders - just as Jesse Sergent and Sam Bewley did before him. Those two Kiwis are now pro-tour riders, a path Atkins hopes to follow.
"Obviously Jesse and Sam made the transition. It shows how much they improved after being part of such a professional setup," the 18 year old said.
In 2010 Atkins' had to build himself back to peak form after two periods of rehab. To stay motivated and upbeat through a tough year has shown his dedication and strength of character - two things the US teams love about Kiwi riders.
Quick chat with one of the two 2011 Trek Livestrong Kiwis
How did you get noticed by Trek LiveStrong?
I had a good first year in U19 at the UCI Junior Track Worlds in 2009. After my operation and comeback I had some good results within NZ towards my goals at Junior Track Worlds 2010.
Obviously people talk, and I had showed enough form and talent to get mentions to Axel Merckx from many parties. We began talking and just kept in contact from there.
Axel could look at my SRM data to see the truth behind my riding. Even with the further setbacks and injury post operation, I knew if I focused on getting right, the rest would fall into place. Axel offered me a place on the team and I didn't hesitate.
Was it your plan to be signing for an international team at 18?
I knew that I was going to head overseas in 2011, it was just a matter of who with. New Zealand is so far out of the loop in terms of the scene. Europe and America provide that racing that training can't replicate, it makes you better and better.
I knew overseas racing is where I was going to really stepup in the world and find my feet. To be signing with Trek Livestrong is a massive leap and opportunity towards becoming professional.
Jesse and Sam have both said how much they respect Axel. Are you looking forward to that fulltime team learning environment?
Yes I have talked with Jesse and Sam. Obviously Axel was a very, very good pro rider and has been cycling all his life. I am very excited to be able to learn and improve with Axel as manager.
Have Jesse or Sam given you any advice about the team?
They have been really good about it all. I've been talking to them both when I get the chance. They know how things work and the do's and dont's.
The common theme is - things are not really too different, just be yourself. It is going to be an amazing experience.
What does this mean for your track career?
I have always looked towards road. It is very hard to juggle both trades of the sport without losing form from one.
I don't see my future including track. I have learnt a lot from track, now my focus is road and becoming a pro. I look forward to seeing what type of rider I can be.
When do you join team?
Not sure when I am heading overseas, there will be camps etc but that is all still to be organised. I know from past years there is a team house in Boulder for International riders. It is something I am very much looking forward to, I hear Boulder is an amazing lovely city with great people.
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