Corbin Strong has been one of the finds of the season. The St George Continental cycling team rider has had a campaign littered with success including back-to-back young rider classification wins on the UCI Asia Tour.
In the space of the last three months of racing Strong has been a stand out almost everywhere he has gone. Eight top ten finishes in three races, two best young rider wins at the Tour de Kumano and Tour de Korea, two stage podium finishes. Now, as his attention turns to the track and a campaign over in the States, he heads to the boards in fantastic condition.
RoadCycling got to catch up with him to talk about the journey and breakthrough of 2019.
RC: First of all eight top-ten finishes in 24 days of racing, two best young rider victories in back-to-back stage races . . . . is it safe to say you’re in the form of your life?
Corbin: Yeah I think that would be safe to say, the last few months have been great for me.
RC: St George Continental Cycling Team have a great reputation on the Asia Tour and have hosted some great Kiwis in the past and now in the present. How have you found racing with them this season?
Corbin: I’ve loved racing with the George boys, probably the best decision I’ve made in my career was to sign with them. They’re a really good fit for me with balancing track and road and have given me so many good opportunities already this year. The team’s filled with great guys from NZ and Australia and as a young guy coming into the team it was incredibly humbling to have guys as classy as Vink and Zenovich willing to put their chances aside to help me.
RC: How much of your success in Kumano and Korea has been something that you specifically targeted vs went for in the spur of the moment?
Corbin: Going for GC was in the back of my mind and I knew I was in good shape coming into this block of racing. But I am a young rider on an experienced team so I can’t show up to races just thinking about myself. I was excited to ride for my teammates and if I got any opportunities to have a crack myself I would give it my all. I was fortunate those opportunities came and then the GC and jerseys became a focus for me.
RC: Did victory in Kumano’s classification give you confidence and a sense of familiarity that you could do the same again in Korea or was it a very different kind of experience for you?
Corbin: I learnt a lot at Kumano and the previous tours just with the dynamics of this level of racing and it definitely helped in Korea. In general this has been a massive year of learning for me, and I’m gaining a lot from it.
RC: Where do you head from here in terms of race schedule and plans for the rest of the season?
Corbin: I flew from Korea to USA and I’m now with the NZ track squad doing some track racing here before we go to Vancouver for some road racing. Then I head home for a bit of a break which will be nice as I’ve had just 8 nights at home since Christmas! Then I’m building up for the second half of the season with a few more tours in Asia, The Tour of Southland and the track season with World Cups and Oceanias.