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Pro cyclists chase the dream of making it to the WorldTour with a near singular focus. But once there, all pros are inevitably faced with the question: what’s next? This week on Bobby & Jens, ex-WorldTour pro Ian Boswell looks back on his time in the professional peloton and discusses finding his way in life after achieving that life goal and the transition to gravel racing.
Also listen to: Bobby & Jens: Matteo Jorgenson
When Ian started racing road bikes as a kid growing up in Bend, Oregon, he found himself starting out during an excellent period for the sport. “I feel like I kind of came in at the tail end of this really golden window of domestic American racing,” he says. But the landscape has changed considerably in the years since. He discusses the current opportunities for young American cyclists hoping to turn pro. And later he touches on the transferability of the skills racers learn in gravel racing to the road. Will we ever see American riders making the jump from gravel to the WorldTour?
When Ian made it to the WorldTour, he found himself on arguably the best squad at the time: Team Sky. There he learned a lot about racing and life skills, but also had some trouble figuring out what he wanted to do. “I made it to the WorldTour and I never really reevaluated what my long-term goals were,” he remembers. He discusses learning along the way in the WorldTour and also why he eventually left that team for Katusha and the differences in cultures of those teams.
His time at Katusha yielded a chance to ride the Tour de France, but it would also be where his career came to a close earlier than most would have expected. After six years in the WorldTour, a crash at Tirreno Adriatico in 2019 completely altered Ian’s career. He discusses the aftermath of that crash in his 2019 season and how it led to him jumping into the next stage in life. It was a crossroads in his life where he had to decide what he wanted and what he had left to prove.
Now 31, he has a family and splits his time between a fulltime job and racing gravel events, to much success, with an Unbound Gravel win under his belt. He talks about the growth and development of gravel cycling, the U.S. gravel scene in comparison to European racing, and what the UCI getting into gravel could mean for the discipline. He also touches on his interest in being involved in racing again, not as a rider but as a race director or in some other capacity.
Ian also provides some advice to aspiring pro riders and current pros alike for thinking about life after cycling.
Listen to this week’s episode for the full discussion.
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.