DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (VN) — Following two seasons of service to the big names at Sky, Ian Boswell wants to take a crack at the Amgen Tour of California.
“It’s a race where I can put my hand up and say I want to have some opportunity there,” the young American told VeloNews, while tucked into a small patch of shade prior to Wednesday’s start of the Dubai Tour.
Boswell has performed well on home soil before, and in races of similar size. The chance to lead has rarely presented itself since he signed with the British outfit, but in 2012 he rode to fifth overall in a mountainous Tour of Utah, riding for Axel Merckx’s Trek-Livestrong program, now known as Axeon Cycling. A top-10 result at the Route du Sud last year confirmed his ability to mix it up at the front of the UCI World Tour.
“Especially being my third year on the team, and an American race, [California] is something I want to target,” Boswell said. “[Bradley] Wiggins isn’t going to be there, or [Chris] Froome, or Richie [Porte]. If the opportunity is there, I’d love to go for a stage, if not ride GC.”
California is still three months out, and here in Dubai it’s business as usual for Boswell. He’s here as a domestique, playing an early role in the sprint train for Ben Swift and new Sky signee Elia Viviani. A bit of desert sun is good for the legs, he said, and the long, mostly flat stages, buffeted by wind, are the perfect way to jumpstart early-season fitness.
“We have Viviani and Swifty for the sprints, and it’s kind of a new dynamic for Sky. We’ve had some sprinters in the past, but we’re definitely trying to build a train around those guys, especially having Viviani here now,” Boswell said. “We have Bernie [Eisel], and Andy Fenn, and [Geraint Thomas], and with this crew we definitely try to win a stage.”
Stage 3, stretching 205 kilometers from Dubai into the Hajar mountains, and finishing with a tough uphill kick to the Hatta Dam, is on everyone’s radar.
Boswell hasn’t played a role in Sky’s sprint train in the past, but he’ll get plenty of practice this week.
“It’s definitely not my cup of tea, but it’s actually fun,” he said. “I want to get more involved in the sprint leadout because it’s a fun little task.
“I think this is one of those races, with the time bonuses, where if we could maybe jump in a break one day, grab some [bonus] seconds, and then do well on the mountain day, it could pan out where that’s the difference on GC.”