Sam Bewley has had a great preparation in the run up to his third outing at the Vuelta a Espana. As he gets ready to support Esteban Chaves in pursuit of overall victory, we caught up with him to talk team, form and the Big Three.
Who are the Big Three?
It’s a term that only came into relevance for Sam Bewley this season, but has had us scratching our heads. What is/who are the Big Three? “The Big Three are myself, Svein Tuft and Michael Hepburn. It’s basically a name we gave to ourselves at the Giro. The three big boys, the flat landers I guess. We always had similar roles in the Giro and we always did it together so we became the big three,” Sam revealed. Question answered.
Of the Big Three, two of them return to action in the final grand tour of the season. While Hepburn took on national team duties, where he formed part of the team pursuit squad that took silver behind Team GB, Bewley will line up in the company of Svein Tuft, as the two of the Big Three shelter Esteban Chaves, keep the pace high, do the spade work, chase down breaks; and generally spend themselves in the cause of the Colombian.
New goals, same relaxed atmosphere
Despite the fact that Orica-BikeExchange have really risen to prominence as a team of GC contenders – with both Esteban Chaves and Adam Yates producing 2nd and 4th places in the Giro and Tour respectively – Sam is adamant that not much has changed in terms of atmosphere in the team. “The atmosphere remains pretty much the same but the ambitions are slightly different,” he explained. “In the past we never really went to grand tours to race for GC but we always had big goals for stages. Now obviously we have ambitions for the GC.”
If anything changes for Bewley and co it is the intensity levels throughout the three weeks. Previously content to charge on the flat or slightly tricky stages for the likes of Michael Matthews, and then maybe take a breakaway opportunity or two if they arose, now the team have to be on the ball all the time. “I guess that brings a little more stress and a more focussed three weeks than previously. We have to be committed and focussed every day but the beauty of this team and the guys we have is that we do that in a relaxed way. We still have fun and we are always relaxed off the bike. I think that helps to focus more for the few hours a day we need to be switched on,” Sam said.
Well prepped and raring to go
Sam heads to this year’s Vuelta a Espana in good condition. Despite not having raced in almost three weeks, Bewley is confident of where his condition is at; and sees the lower race volume as a positive. “My preparation has been great. I’ve had a lot of racing this season but I have managed to periodise and manage that load well. After Poland I haven’t really raced which has been good. It gave me the chance to really prepare right for the Vuelta. I spent 3 weeks at altitude and now I’m ready, I hope.”
We hope and look forward to Sam and the team having another stellar grand tour. The race kicks off on 20th August and runs through until 11th September.