Shane Archbold’s return to the highest level of professional cycling is music to our ears. This week Shane gets stuck into racing at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey; his first World Tour race of the season. We got to touch base with him just before the action starts.
RC: First of all congratulations on your move back to BORA-Hansgrohe. How are you feeling now at the culmination of the last two years for you where things must have been full of real highs and lows in terms of anticipating what the future held?
Shane: I guess choosing cycling as a future is always a hard one, when taking it on you expect the highs and lows I can only hope that the lows are behind me and 2019 is full of highs. I have hit some of the lowest lows but to be back in the world tour is amazing it was something I was dreaming of and working hard for 2020 but to come back this year is even better.
RC: When your contract wasn’t renewed with BORA-Hansgrohe at the end of 2017 were there any thoughts that this was the end of your opportunity to race at World Tour level?
Shane: It has crossed my mind that my time was done in the World Tour but all I could do was prove that I wasn’t and try my best to come back to a level I knew I could, and now that I’m here I have to prove my worth and continue the progressing I had going before my injures.
RC: What does it mean to you not just to be returning to the World Tour but to be returning to the team you already know so well with BORA-Hansgrohe?
Shane: Returning to BORA-Hansgrohe has made the transition much easier for me knowing the staff, procedures and equipment has made it very simple and I’m very grateful they have given me this opportunity.
RC: Your work in the past with Sam Bennett has been well documented and has yielded great success. Have you been in communication with him about your return and how are you feeling about partnering with him again in Turkey?
Shane: I didn’t speak to anyone in the build up to signing the contract as in this business you just never know what can happen until you sign on the dotted line. But once I had done that Sam was one of the first people I contacted. Tour of Turkey was our last race together in 2017 where we had a lot of success so I hope the great run continues.
RC: The journey for you over the last few months has involved a great deal of track racing and also a road campaign with EvoPro Racing. What have track racing with Aaron Gate and road racing with EvoPro done for you in terms of your fitness and performance on the bike compared to where you were when Aqua Blue Sport closed?
Shane: When the Aqua Blue situation happened it’s safe to say I was a bit lost. Over the European winter the track racing gave me something to focus on and work towards. It kept me busy and at an okay fitness level. Aaron had a lot of hard work doing part of my share of the Madisons when my level was a long way from my best, it wasn’t until late December when I signed with EvoPro did my mentality change and I decided to get serious again and really focus again on coming back to my best.
EvoPro gave me a lifeline and it kept me in the game which worked out well as being already fit and in good shape made BORA really look at me. I will be forever grateful for EvoPro.
RC: You’re obviously very familiar with the BORA-Hansgrohe set up, but naturally there will be a number of new faces to integrate with. Where do you envisage that you’ll fit over the next several months of the season? What are your hopes now that you’re back at the highest level? What can you tell us about what your race calendar looks like beyond Turkey?
Shane: My hopes are simple, to prove my worth back in BORA and progress my level in the pro ranks. With pretty much 2.5 years out of racing in the World Tour it’s gonna be a touch challenging but BORA are very professional and will work closely with me to give me every chance possible. I start in Tour of Turkey tomorrow, then it’s home for 5-6 days before starting Tour of Romandie. Then it will be into a big training block for Dauphine in June. It’s not clear my exact roll in the near future but I will be doing all these races alongside Sam. So personally I would like to step back into the lead out roll I once had.
After that the future is unsure but its a nice race program to start back.