Roman van Uden of the Land Rover-ORBEA team, scored the biggest win of his young career at Saturday’s Silver City Downtown Criterium at the SRAM Tour of the Gila. The New Zealander avoided the numerous crashes in the final two laps and outkicked everyone to claim victory.
“This is the biggest win of my career. I was stoked, things are all coming together at the moment, it’s been a good race for the team” said van Uden. “I got to chat with Lance [Armstrong] afterwards when he came up to thank [co-owner] Norrene [Godfrey] for all her hard work for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. ”
The Land Rover-ORBEA benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation is a young cycling development team based out of Portland, Oregon with a message. The team is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and to develop talented young cyclists.
The young team has been racing aggressively in the stage in New Mexico, going into breaks and trying to make a name for itself in the star-studded field.
“I don’t get fazed by how good the other riders are, I just do my race. I got in the breakaway on the second day to the top of the climb, stuck with it until the end. It doesn’t faze me too much.” said van Uden.
So far, the team has pulled out a top 5 result in the second stage and now a win in the fourth stage.
“Last year, my goals were to get on the Land Rover-ORBEA for two years, and it wasn’t a pro team then, and see if I could go pro hopefully after that. ” said van Uden. The team, under the leadership of Norrene and David Godfrey, registered as a UCI Continental team for the 2009 season. “So we’re pro a year early so it changed it up a bit maybe.”
The change did bring a change of perception in the peloton for the team but not so much for the rider.
“I hold my own pretty well in a crit, so I don’t have a problem finding a gap or things like that. I still get abused by some riders, not much has changed, I guess it’s just my style of riding.” laughed van Uden. “I think, generally, other riders recognize us a bit more but I still feel like I’m doing my own thing. ”
But at only 20 years of age and in his second year of racing in the United States, van Uden is still defining his long-term career goals.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to get some results, get somewhere but I haven’t really planned it out too well yet where I’m going to try and achieve.” mused van Uden. “Probably something I should get onto.”
One area of improvement that he wants to tackle this year is climbing. “I had some trouble with that last year, a lot of it has been my position on the bike, so this year we’ve dialed it much better so it should help, and my time trial position too.”
Earlier this year, I asked him what would make 2009 a successful year.
“I definitely need to get some results in an NRC race, win a crit, win a stage, even if it’s a win for the team, getting an NRC win for the team would be successful. Good results would be maybe U23 jersey in one of the NRC stage races or something like I would be very happy with.”
Well I’d say so far so good.