SAITAMA, Japan (VN) — American climber Ian Boswell says Team Sky’s implosion during stage 15 of this year’s Vuelta a España was the worst day in the team’s history. But he also says the experience he gained there and at the Giro d’Italia — where he and his teammates had to regroup after illness knocked out their leader, pre-race favorite Mikel Landa — has made him a wiser racer and better teammate as he heads into his fifth pro season.
“Two grand tours in one year — as a pro, that’s a nice accomplishment, especially on a team like Sky,” Boswell said Saturday at the Saitama Criterium, where he was racing alongside Froome in the ASO’s season-ending showcase.
“Every grand tour I’ve improved. I think the Vuelta this year was my best one, even though last year I was third on a stage. The help I was able to provide for the team throughout the race — maybe it didn’t always show up on tv, but I felt that I was the most consistent I’ve ever been. I was contributing day in and day out. It’s the most rounded grand tour I’ve done.”
“We had that one really bad day, though. I was talking to someone at our team camp recently, and we were saying that was probably the worst day Sky has ever had as a team.”
Boswell has spent all four of his seasons as a pro with Sky, and he says he feels his position shifting within the squad as he becomes one of the riders tasked with mentoring younger teammates.
“I just did my fifth off-season team camp,” Boswell said. “This year, more than any other, I felt like a veteran. I think the team sees that, too. They have me room with younger riders now, because I have a bit of experience to help riders like Tao Geoghegan-Hart, for example.
“But he’s also a ginger, like me, so maybe that’s why they put us together.
Boswell plans to spend a week vacationing in Japan before turning his attention to planning out his offseason and 2017 program — work that he says has been knocked a bit behind schedule, as Sky’s staff and coaches have been preoccupied with the TUE issues that have plagued the team in recent weeks.
“Things have been maybe a bit postponed,” he said. “Before, we probably would have taken care of all of that at the last camp. But I think we’re maybe a week or two behind right now on planning for next year.”
Last spring, Boswell had high hopes for selection to Sky’s Tour squad after he was invited to accompany Froome at a two-man training camp in South Africa last winter. As it turned out, he wasn’t there to help Froome defend his Tour crown and is still waiting for his first crack at the Tour. But he agrees with Froome’s assessment that his teammates will be able to control the racing next July, though he says that has less to do with the Tour route and more to do with the strength of their team.
“I mean, if we sent our Tour team to the Giro, we could control there, too,” he said.