RBA: At that time you were primarily
considered as a time trialist, yet
you could also climb and had GC
potential. How did you work on
defining and balancing your abilities?
RP: I started off as a decent time
trialist. I was fourth at the world
championships in my first year as pro
and not far off the podium. But, when
I joined Team Sky and teamed up with
Tim Kerrison, that’s when I learned
about diet and power-to-weight and that
stuff. I really think I learned how to ride
my bike under Tim Kerrison—a brilliant
guy to work with. He probably
revolutionized the sport in more ways
than people recognize.
Obviously, if you can time trial, you’ve
got good power, and I’ve lost quite a lot
of weight over the years, and obviously
I don’t time trial quite as well as I did,
but I’m really working on it this year.
I think it’s just one of those things where
the longer you’re professional, the more
professional you become.
THE BIG LEAGUES
RBA: What were your big takeaway
learnings from your time with Sky,
and how different was it to
what you knew?
RP: In 2010 with Saxo it was an
incredible team, but by 2011 I didn’t
really enjoy my time there. Then, in
2012, I went to Sky. The support
RBA: Is it fair to say that the peloton
network that Sky had then, it was
probably the best place to have gone
at that stage in my career. It was a lot
more professional, and they had that big
goal of winning the Tour de France, and
that was their whole existence at that
time. We used to go to training camps
and have the whole Tour de France
team there, and obviously if you have a
team that’s so into winning the Tour de
France, that can only be good, whereas
Saxo was a bit scattered over the place
compared to that.
has been anglicized?
RP: Definitely. If you look back at
the sport, it was traditionally Spanish,
French and Italians that ruled. Now, it’s
an English-speaking peloton. The sport’s
definitely changing, although some of
the older guys really don’t like it. Now
if a team has to ride, the conversation
is always in English, plus the influence
from sponsors and American teams; it’s
changed a lot.
RBA: Team Sky has a very different
approach to most, and while some
riders thrive there, some don’t. What
was your experience?
RP: Team Sky is not for everybody.
You have to be super motivated, but at
the end of the day if you’re on a team
that wins, it’s a lot easier to sacrifice your
own opportunities. I went in support of
Brad in 2012 and Chris in 2013–’ 14, but
you still have your own opportunities
along the way. In a sport like cycling,
anything can happen on the road.
For me, I think I needed to take that
step back into a support role and to learn
from some incredible people like Sean
Yates and Tim Kerrison, but at the end of
it in 2015, it was really time to go out and
take my own opportunities.
RBA: How different is the BMC
approach compared to Sky?
RP: Every team is different, and I’m
working now with a British coach named
David Bailey, and he’s come from that
British cycling background too. I wouldn’t
say that BMC have copied Team Sky,
but a lot of teams have. Now the gap is
closing within different teams, and Sky
has had a big influence on raising the
standards. I would say that BMC is a bit
more of a “human” team and a bit more
traditional. It’s a fantastic team, and you
only have to look at the results over the
years, especially this year. It shows that
that whole scientific approach that Sky
takes is not the only way to do it.
RBA: When you rode as support for
Brad Wiggins and then Chris Froome,
neither had won the Tour and were
considered long shots. How different
were they as athletes and characters?
“There were days where
[Froome] was on his hands
and knees, but he’d still do
and finish his efforts and e n
get the required power;
he’s just an absolute animal.” t