As we say adiós to the Vuelta a Espana we reflect on the roles of five Kiwis who rode very different races, but all left their mark on the tour. Patrick Bevin may not have finished in Madrid, but he certainly made his presence felt; particularly with a second place in the individual time trial in stage 10.
RC: First of all as a whole, how would you assess not just your time trial but your two weeks at the Vuelta 2019?
Patrick: My two weeks at the Vuelta were very good. It was my first proper race back since the Tour de France in July, which as I crashed out early really made it my first race since Tour de Suisse in June!! So to jump back into a race that was on from day one was great and a great way to find some racing legs really quick.
RC: It’s been a race that’s largely been dominated by climbers, with precious little opportunities for sprinting. As a non-pure-climber how did that affect your ability to influence the race compared to something like the Tour de Suisse earlier this year where you heavily featured?
Patrick: I think we have seen a lot of breaks go and maybe with a different build up I could have been a bigger part of some of those breaks but the reality was it was a fine line between getting back some race fitness and focusing on the TT so I didn’t find myself up the road.
RC: How important was it not just to race the Vuelta but to stop when you did in view of the World Championships?
Patrick: As my primary focus is the TT and with that I think coming out after 14 stages was perfect. It’s been a really really long time since someone finished the Vuelta and won the TT. Maybe the Tour of Britain would have been better preparation but our team did not race it this year so I had to make the Vuelta work. Honestly the hardest part was my ego and having to ‘not finish’ another grand tour.
RC: You’ve spoken about your disappointment at not having won the time trial, but in terms of personal performance, what were the positives & learnings that you’ll take to Yorkshire?
Patrick: The TT in Pau was a really good stepping stone for me. I came into the Vuelta underdone and actually riding a brand new TT position. I had my first ever trip to the wind tunnel in September and we found some really good changes there but the lack of time and the lingering rib pain meant I didn’t get a whole lot of time to ride it before Spain. So the 2nd was a little surprising but gave me a whole bunch of confidence in what I was doing was well on the right track.
RC: What does preparation for the Worlds look like now for you and how much time will you be able to spend in the Northallerton-Harrogate area?
Patrick: I come into Yorkshire a few days before to recon the course, but am not there for weeks and weeks. The biggest part of finishing the Vuelta early was to recovery enough and then do some final preparation on the TT bike.
RC: At 54km in length this will easily be your longest effort against the clock this year and by some distance. Does the longer distance suit you compared to the shorter efforts and what considerations will you need to take into account to be successful over the longer distance?
Patrick: I think the longer TT suits me better, I have developed a knack for being able to deliver the power over the distance and I think Yorkshire could be a really long and tough one with the roads and weather. Being about to fully focus on this in the final few weeks means I should be more comfortable in my new position and get a couple of longer TT sessions in.