Tom Danielson Interview
Success has taken Tom to the top of the 'Next Lance Armstrong' list.
Up until the beginning of this year, you may have been excused for saying "Tom who?" Not now. Successes with his Saturn Cycling Team at this year's Tour de Langkawi and good results at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /?>
I caught up with Tom a few days ago and we discussed his start in the sport, results this year and where he hopes to be going.
IM: How did you get started in bike racing?
TD: I got started into bike racing as a mountain bike racer my senior year in high school. My friend down the street always was riding, so I thought I'd try it. At the time I was interested in dirt bikes, motorcycles, but my parents wouldn't let me race them. I figured the mtb was similar, but as soon as I started riding it, I fell in love. I loved the physical and mental toughness you needed to do it, as well as the vast room for improvement that came with hard work.
IM: After you finished college, how did you move in to the pro ranks? Did you find it difficult? Did you have a 'mentor' who helped guide you?
TD: I moved into the pro ranks with the help of my current coach, Rick Crawford. He saw the potential I had and believed in me. He basically molded me like clay into a professional racer. I would say my mentors for my first year of racing pro were my Mercury teammates. Chris Wherry, Scott Moninger, and Henk Vogels really helped me and just being around them made the steep learning curve that much more attainable.
IM: How are things for you in Saturn? It's team that's been around for quite some time now.
TD: Wow, the team is great. It is run like a well-oiled machine! With 12 years and counting of experience, this team has made top level racing as easy as possible. Throw in a great group of teammates who mesh perfectly, you have the ingredients to win!
IM: What do you consider to be your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
TD: I would say my strong points are my climbing and time-trialing, basically stage racing. My weak points come with my size and inexperience. Those would be criterium racing and sprinting. I also am learning how to read the races. Luckily I am around Anje Bek and Chris Horner who seem to read each race to perfection, so I am definitely learning from the best.
IM: Do you work with a coach? How has he/she helped you to progress to where you are now?
TD: My coach is Rick Crawford whom I met within the