Q&A With Wesley Sulzberger on Volta Catalunya Stage 3

Thu 21 Mar 2013

The overall contenders came to fore in Catalunya as the roads tilted skywards. While ORICA-GreenEDGE was happy to leave those with an interest in the general classification to do battle on Vallter 2000 for the stage three summit finish, Wesley Sulzberger had a personal goal in mind. The team’s top finisher in 88th place at 6’17” behind stage winner Nairo Quintana (MOV), Wes tested his legs up the mountain top finish. Following the race, he took some time to answer questions about his day.

Q: In the Catalunya race preview, Christian Meier said the team could do something every day except on the two mountain stages. This is the first of those two stages. How does the team approach a stage when it’s not one they’re targeting? 

A day like today is clearly for the general classification guys. It’s not a great deal of pressure for the team. I decided that I wanted to test my legs and see how long I can stay with those guys. It was my attempt to stretch myself out a little and just see where I’m at in terms of my climbing. It didn’t go too badly for me.

Gerro [Simon Gerrans] helped until the foot on the climb. I was left alone after that. I got dropped about six kilometres from the finish.

Although we weren’t targeting the stage, I still got something out of today. I hurt the legs a little bit and then I rode it into the finish. I lost some time today and that might mean I can go into a breakaway tomorrow. We think a large group might get away.

Q: Any interesting action today ahead of the summit finish? 

Honestly, not really. There were four guys out front and that went down to two guys. Sky and Movistar controlled – with mostly Movistar at the front on the climb. It was a pretty straightforward day.

Q: Christian talked about the sprint jersey in the first Q&A and backed up what he said on stage two by getting in another break – is this something the team gets excited about or is the sprint jersey more of an individual goal?

It’s definitely something the team can get behind. Christian rode great in the last couple of days in the breakaway. We’re really happy to help him take the jersey and give him some support to do that. When he’s in the jersey or up the road, it’s great for him, and it’s great for the team. We’ll do what we can to help him out in the next few days. He only needs to take a few more points to win it.

Q: Having lost Allan Davis today to sickness and Michael Matthews before the race even began, the team is now down to six riders with four stages left to race. How will this impact tactics?

It makes things quite tight. For example, today at the start, we wanted to help get Christian in the break. He’s on the hunt for sprint points, so he wanted to be in the move. With only a handful of riders to help instead of an entire team, something like that becomes more difficult. We have to be selective in where to use our energy.

Luckily, the four that slipped up the road had no points in the sprint competition, so it didn’t really matter in the end.

It’s definitely a bit of a blow to only race here with six, but the six we have are all classy, hard-working bike riders. We’ll have to make the most of it.

Q: Do you have any personal goals for the rest of the week?

A stage win would make for a perfect week, but realistically, I want to come out better than I came in. I want to put a couple of big days in the legs whether that’s from a breakaway or a select group that makes it to the finish in the last couple of stage. I want to be around the mark at the pointy end of a few of these upcoming days.

From here, I have Pais Basque. I want to pick up my legs and fine tune my form ahead of that. If I can get out of this race with a good feeling, I’d call that a success.