Tony Cruz Interview
Tony Cruz has had a year of ups and downs. He hit the wind swept roads in Qatar feeling fit and showing great form. After arriving back in the United States, he got zapped by a terrible chest cold and sinus infection. Bouncing back from that, he attended the Redlands Bicycle Classic in tip top shape, anxious to make good use of his form. Then a quick two race trip to Northern Europe saw him inopportunely break his collarbone. Having had a couple of weeks to recover, Tony took a few minutes to discuss his goals for and feelings about the 2008 season with us.
What have you been doing since returning from Europe? How much training have you managed and has there been any complications?
Tony Cruz: Everything has been going smoothly. I took a little under a week off the bike. After a couple days I rolled around my neighbourhood a little, but decided it didn’t feel quite right. So not wanting to take any chances, I decided to give it almost a week. The first three days I rode I managed one and a half hours of training. I then took a day off and the next day was able to do 3 hours. Last Saturday I did six and a half. So now I am back up to my normal amounts. The only thing I am holding off on is sprinting..that intense of an effort still bothers me. Give it another week, and I expect to be up to full speed again.
How would you rate your season overall?
TC: It’s funny, a friend of mine was just asking me that. You know, I have either been feeling really well or I have been sick or injured. I was really going strongly at Qatar and felt like I was really competitive, and then I got so sick that I had trouble at California and couldn’t race the early Belgian races that the team did. After I recovered, I was flying at Redlands and felt like I was definitely going to nail a couple of races, but then almost immediately I broke my collarbone. But at least I have had fitness peaks. Some seasons for whatever reasons, you never feel like you hit your stride. And this year I have already had two good periods. I know I will be able to build on those.
What are some of your goals for the rest of the season?
TC: Well, the Tour of Picardie is up next for me on the schedule, and I’d definitely like to do well there and hopefully win a stage. And then Philly week will be coming in the first week of June. That is a huge objective for our team and I have won there before, so I know I have a chance again. It is just a matter of being healthy.
Have you had a highlight or high spot so far this year?
TC: I guess my time at Redlands was a big highlight for me. You can tell when you are hitting a peak, and to have been able to race the way I did there was definitely a pleasure. I have been training well and my BMC fits me so well that my bike fit has helped me also reach a high level of fitness. Bike fit to me is very important and my BMC fits me probably better than any non-custom bike I’ve ridden.
You are known as a sprinter, but in fact you consider yourself more of an all-rounder, right?
TC: Definitely. I really enjoy climbing and when I’m fit, I’m pretty confident in how well I can hang in there. At Redlands, I don’t think anyone expected me to be in the front group on that hilly road race. And then I nearly won the final day’s sprint too.
Is there something that has happened this year that has reminded you why you love racing so much. Something that has made you say, “yeah, this is why I still do this!”?
TC: Really, for me it’s being on this team. Gavin is so willing to help all the guys on the team, he just wants to make it possible for everyone to be at their 100% best. It gives me a lot of pride in the team and motivation to do as much as I can to contribute. For example, he has already switched out my bike three times – immediately and no questions asked – in order to help me get the perfect fit. The fit is so important to me and my success, but on other teams it was always such a nightmare to try and get something like that done – they usually would never do it. But I really like my BMC because it is so comfortable, and you can see from my results and my general fitness this year that it really suits me well. Last Saturday I was only supposed to do four hours, but rode for six because I was loving it so much and it was so comfortable. Those are the moments that I know I am doing what I love. I felt awesome, I could have ridden nine hours that day!