FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — American cycling “looks promising” on the eve of the 2018 season despite a gap in results in recent years, says Ian Boswell.
Boswell switched from Team Sky to Katusha-Alpecin this winter, hoping to spread his wings in stages and go for the general classification at races. Fans also should keep an eye on many other Americans in the peloton, he noted.
“There are many riders from my age group from the class of 1990, 1991, 1992, who are coming into their primes: myself, Larry Warbasse, Joe Dombrowski, Chad Haga, Joey Rosskopf, Ben King … and I’m sure I’m missing a few,” Boswell told VeloNews.
“There’s a big void with Andrew Talansky changing to triathlon, Tejay van Garderen changing his ambition in the grand tours to help Richie Porte.
“There’s a gap and a need to be filled by us. We are all working hard, but sometimes things don’t click, but it looks promising.”
The U.S. sits a lowly 14th in the national rankings, according to Pro Cycling Stats, behind countries such as Denmark and Norway.
There are three U.S.-registered WorldTour teams but very few Americans race on them and the points add up to very little.
Talansky left professional cycling after a career that included a Critérium du Dauphiné victory. Other stars are struggling to reach their best. Van Garderen (BMC Racing) won a Giro d’Italia stage in 2017 but failed to reach his grand tour classification aims. Taylor Phinney (EF Education First-Drapac-Cannondale) broke his leg in 2014 but has turned in strong results since returning.
“Nathan Brown stuck out last year, Phinney is making a comeback. Alex Howes has gained a lot of experience and has been very active in the races,” added Boswell.
“Others too, the two that went to LottoNL-Jumbo, Neilson Powless and Sepp Kuss. There are new Americans coming into the peloton, but there’s been this gap from the Lance Armstrong era of who are the next GC riders.
“Tejay has been up there, winning the white jersey in the Tour, but if someone performed at a really high level now that would change things. Even Lawson Craddock. He had a great season in 2016, but a poor season last year. He’s motivated to turn things around this year.”
Boswell, 26, rode in a helper role for Team Sky stars Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome over the last five years. He had his chance in some events, which allowed him to place fifth overall in the Amgen Tour of California last year.
In an interview last week about the new season, Boswell said, “There’s no pressure, but just desire coming from myself to reach a new level and perform at this point in my career.”
The careers are just taking off for riders like Powless and Kuss with Dutch team LottoNL-Jumbo, and 22-year-old Logan Owen, who left Axeon Hagens Berman to join WorldTour team EF Education First.
The promise extends north for Boswell, who grew up in Oregon and now calls Vermont home.
“Who should we watch? Mike Woods, can I say his name if he’s Canadian?! I think he plans on doing the Giro d’Italia this year,” Boswell said.
“He’s hard working, focused, and super nice. He will have much more experience coming off that Vuelta a España ride, I think he’s one of the promising North American riders in the peloton.”
Woods is older at age 31, but he came to cycling late after a running career. In the Vuelta, he rode with Froome and Vincenzo Nibali in many stages and placed seventh overall.