31 Dec An Interview with Alexey Vermeulen
For the past two years Enzo has, in a small way, helped this young and very talented rider. Since landing a deal with BMC’s U23 team in 2013, we were lucky to sit down and ask Alexey a few questions about his Love of the sport and what got him started.
This is an exciting time for our sport and Alexey is a bright young star for the future. His enthusiasm and passion is what the sport needs. I can say working with Alexey is nothing short of inspiring and the BMC squad as done well by signing him, and not just because he is fast!
How many years have you been racing your bike. What sparked your interest for the sport?
My Opa (grandfather) was a bike racer who raced in the Netherlands. Looking through his old scrap books and listening to his stories, I was soon hooked. I first started racing my bike in youth triathlons at the age of 11. After racing triathlons for a while, I started to grow more in love with the biking portion of the race. At the age of 13 I started going to local club rides and getting into the sport of bike racing.
Assumption, when did you start thinking you wanted to race as a professional?
When I first started racing, I was playing travel hockey during the fall/winter and travel soccer in the spring. Hockey was the hardest sport to give up. I dropped soccer in the 8th grade, but I didn’t drop ice hockey until a year later after I returned from the Olympic training Center in October of my freshman year. It was a difficult decision; I loved cycling but hockey was a passion through middle school. In September 2009 I raced the Green Mountain Stage Race; I placed 3rd , and I still remember being surprised on the podium. The other riders were applying to college, and I was a Freshmen in high school. It was races like Fitchburg and Green Mountain that really make me fall in love with stage racing and think about racing as a professional. I loved multi-day racing and knowing every rider’s number in contention. I wondered how awesome it would be in the pro tour, but it wasn’t until 2011 at 16 years old (racing age 17) that I won the junior national championships in Augusta, Ga. I realized I could actually do something big in this sport. It has been game on since then!
Besides your parents, who has been giving you your best advises with regard to racing and training, how to become the best racer possible?
My support circle has grown in the past few years. Bike racing is unforgiving, and I am grateful to all those that have advised me. I have had excellent coaching from Lucas Wall (Develo) and Ben Day (DaybyDay) and tactics from senior riders after races. Off the bike, Jeff Barnett is a trainer and masseuse, and now a close friend, who I rely on for muscle and body questions.
About how many hours/miles do you ride in one year? How many races did you do last year?
I usually ride about 15-18 hours a week during the season from December – October. I probably raced over 50 races last year if I include local midweek criteriums.
Can you tell us about the process, when did BMC first make contact and who was the main person talking with you?
BMC contacted me just before the junior world championships in Limburg Netherlands. I started talking to teams during Abitibi in July and was planning to race for Chipotle-Solar, but Chipotle pulled out early August. It was a cold introduction to pro sports but not unusual. In September I heard from a few other race directors and started to learn about other options. I was fortunate to sit down talk with Rik Verbrugghe (BMC development team director) at worlds in the BMC bus. I feel confident BMC is the best fit for me personally. I enjoy the harder euro weather, and BMC is dedicated to developing pro tour riders.
Do you have an idea what your schedule will look like for 2013? Which events are you most excited about doing?
I just finished going over my schedule for 2013 with my director! I cannot say what events yet, but I am very excited to do some big stage races and one day classics in Europe.
Enzo is really excited that you have this awesome opportunity to race with BMC in 2013, what excites you most about this year, what makes you most nervous?
Racing with friends on BMC and the National team and learning from the older U23 riders. I must say I am particularly excited about training camp in Spain. Being from Michigan I am usually more nervous about the pre-season and races. In November I was running cross country States for my high school. It’s always easier after you get a few races under your belt.
Alexey, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Good luck in the future and enjoy the ride, we will be watching. You can follow Alexey on his blog at http://alexeyvermeulen.blogspot.com