One of the cornerstones of the bolstered speed for the BISSELL Pro Cycling Team is criterium strongman Kyle Wamsley.
“I’ve been very successful in the criteriums but this year I’m going to go for some stage race finishes.” said the 30-year old. Over the past two years, Wamsley won the Cox Charities Cycling Classic, a stage win and the overall points jersey at Redlands Bicycle Classic and the overall at Fitchburg Classic. He also had two top 5 finishes at the 2009 Tour of Missouri.
“I think after my success at Missouri in the past couple of years, to move over to the stage race and especially with how good this team is at that, is going to be more of a priority. I’d like to get a podium at Missouri and California if possible.”
After two years with the Colavita/Sutter Home team, Wamsley found himself to be one of the new guys on the team at training camp, a position he found somewhat refreshing.
“Because you have something to do, you have to learn everybody and try to figure out how to interact with your teammates especially from the standpoint of being a sprinter and to be able to motivate the guys in front of me so it actually makes camping a little more exciting than riding around with the same old guys.” laughed Wamsley.
To help motivate his teammates he looks for “just what jokes to crack to different guys to keep them positive. That way you can get under their skin when you need to or make them happy when they’re getting down to keep good morale.”
That motivation will be needed as the BISSELL team hopes to set up a leadout train this year to bring Wamsley or his teammate Daniel Holloway to victory.
So how does one set up a leadout train? “It’s going to take a little bit of guesswork in the first couple of races, certainly Eric’s knowledge of the riders last year we’ll tap into that.” said Wamsley about DS Eric Wohlberg.
“I think Frank Pipp can pretty much put me wherever I need to be. Then we’ve got guys like Peter Latham, Cody O’Reilly and Dan Holloway that are certainly fast enough in the last kilometer to put us in the right spot and take a run on any other teams that we need to so it will be a little bit interesting, some other teams with a lot of speed there should some good battles this year.”
One of the teams that they will battling is the Colavita/Sutter Home, a team that has perfected the train in the past years.
“It’s going to be fun.” laughed Wamsley about taking on his previous team. “I know a lot of what they do, they’re a little bit sneaky, they like to jump the train so it’s going to be hard to stay in front of them. But they’re the ones going to be under the microscope at the beginning of the year with Dominguez on the team now, he certainly still has the speed. I hope we can surprise them early on, these guys are so strong it will be interesting to see, it will good for the fans.”
After being on a team with such strong sprinters in the past, Wamsley is hoping that he is undervalued going into the season.
“It puts a little bit less pressure on the team but the problem is that the directors that really know what’s going on know how fast I am, they know I wasn’t used to that sprinting capacity last year and for good reason, we had the best sprinter in the country on the team, you have to sacrifice your individual goal for the team. Certainly I was certainly willing to do that last year and this year when I need to but I intend to prove that people did undervalue me last year and they will underestimate me this year, that’s a goal of mine.”
His first goal will be Redlands Bicycle Classic. “I had good success there last year”.
Then the Amgen Tour of California where there will be strong sprinting competition. “The measure of the result is not the race you’re at but the riders that you’re racing against, sprinting against and defeating. There’s not better stage to do it on than a stage in California.”
Wamsley wants to go head to head with the best sprinters in the world.
“I think I’ve learned a lot last year with the changes I need to make and the abilities I need to have in the sprint, I could see what areas I was lacking in my acceleration to the line so I’m trying to improve those areas and hope I can be competitive.”
He is counting on his teammates, co-captain Pipp and O’Reilly to put him in a position where he can compete with the best. “It’s definitely a team effort getting to the line, it’s just not me against them.”
Wamsley’s first race with the BISSELL team will be the San Dimas Stage Race next week.