Q&A with Sam Bewley on Volta Catalunya Stage 4

Fri 22 Mar 2013

The queen stage of the Volta a Catalunya was a mountainous affair won by Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp). The Irishman was part of a 23-man breakaway that formed after the first hour of racing. The sole survivor up the Port Ainé-Rialp summit finish, Martin was rewarded with both the stage win and the race leader’s jersey. ORICA-GreenEDGE was happy once again to take a backseat to the overall contenders and reserve their efforts for the stages to come better suited to their strengths. 

Sport Director Lionel Marie put Sam Bewley up for the Q&A session today. At 1.8 metres tall and 81 kilograms, Sam is one of the bigger guys in the bunch, and Lionel thought he would offer a unique perspective on the mountainous stage. Read what Sam had to say about stage four below.

Q: What was the queen stage like for you compared to the smaller, pure climbers?

The climbs on a stage like this definitely take their toll a bit quicker on a bigger guy than a smaller one. Just carrying the extra weight over climb after climb is tough. That’s why it’s important to be conscious of race weight. It’s something I want to focus on more seriously this year. For me, it’s good to get in these days even if they don’t feel good because I haven’t done many like this. It’s important for me to use these days as building blocks for future races.

Q: When you see the profile for a stage like this – is it “just get through the day" or do you have any personal goals?

It’s more or less about getting through the day as there are other days that offer better opportunities for a guy like myself, so I have to keep that in mind. I’m also here, in part, simply to improve my condition – which is really no simple thing at all – so I will always look to push myself a little bit to help me gauge my current condition from day to day.

Q: What was the team’s objective for today’s stage?

We didn’t have a specific team goal in mind today. Everyone was free to the ride the stage as they wanted. Some of my teammates chose to test themselves until the end while others wanted to look after themselves as much as possible to save energy for upcoming stages where our goals may be a little more specific. Across the board, the only true objective was to get through a good day of training.

Q: We were one of only two teams to miss out on the break today? Was that a mistake and did it impact our role in the bunch?

No, it wasn’t really a mistake. Yes, it would have been nice to be represented in a big move, and we definitely would have preferred to have had someone up there. In saying that, it wasn’t our obligation to ride to bring back the break either because we don’t have anyone here riding for the overall. The only opportunity from a group like that is a stage win, which is obviously a great thing, but as we saw today a super Dan Martin was the only one to stay clear.

Q: Tell us about the grupetto. You finished in a small group today – not sure if it would qualify as a grupetto.

The grupetto is a group of riders that aren’t as capable in the mountains as the guys that are going for the stage win or the overall. In the grand tours, it’s often the guys that are winning the flatter stages that ride in the grupetto when the race hits the climbs. This happens for a couple reasons but mainly because it allows them to save energy on the stages they are less suited to so they can perform better on the stages more suited to their strengths.

Q: Does the team have a plan to protect Christian’s points jersey and TDF 100 sprint jersey?

For sure. Christian has worked hard to keep those jerseys, and he’s riding really well here. He deserves to hold onto them, and we’ll do what we need to do to ensure that happens.