Caleb Fairly says he’s “fitting in nicely” with his new team, Giant-Alpecin, and is looking forward to a season in the trenches for the squad’s big guns.
The 28-year-old Texan joined the Dutch-German outfit for the 2015 season after riding for American teams High Road and Garmin since 2010.
“There are differences in the cultures. It’s definitely more Dutch or German; it’s also very relaxed. I am fitting in nicely,” Fairly told VeloNews. “At the same time, it’s very structured and organized. I am liking it so far. They are very punctual, very specific. I can say there is never any confusion about what’s going on, or what your job is that day. That’s good for riders.”
Fairly said he had contact with the Giant-Alpecin organization when High Road was folding at the end of 2011. He spent a season with SpiderTech and joined Garmin for two seasons, where he rode and completed his first grand tour at the Vuelta a España in 2013.
With riders getting squeezed out by the Cannondale-Garmin merger coming into 2015, Fairly found a chance to reconnect with Giant-Alpecin.
“I had a few interactions with them a few years ago after High Road folded, I was interested in making a change, and this team seemed like a good fit,” he said. “There were a few fellow Texans there, with Chad [Haga] and Lawson [Craddock], so it was nice that it worked out. I am pretty happy.”
He’s also reconnected with former High Road teammate John Degenkolb, who has emerged as a budding classics superstar and a threat in harder sprint finales. Fairly already got a taste of what will be in store this season while doing some heavy work at the recent Ruta del Sol to try to set up Degenkolb for a stage win.
“It’s always a lot of hard work when you have the best or favorite sprinter in the race. It’s nice to know that when you’re working for the guy, he has a chance to win,” Fairly continued. “I’ve known John since the High Road years, he’s a really great guy. Everyone gives 100 percent when those guys are in the race. You also get fitness pretty fast when you’re out there hammering away.”
Fairly, however, will also support the team’s growing GC ambitions in stage races and the Ardennes classics.
With Degenkolb and sprint king Marcel Kittel leading the team over the past few seasons, Giant-Alpecin is slowly but surely expanding its GC aspirations. Warren Barguil, who battled to a top-10 in last year’s Vuelta, might be getting a nod to start the Tour de France this summer. Tom Dumoulin will be expanding his stage-race ambitions, in such races as Paris-Nice and the Vuelta al País Vasco, while Simon Geschke will be getting his chances at Tirreno-Adriatico and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“There is a still a really big focus on the sprints, with Kittel, Degenkolb, and Luka [Mezgec], there are so many guys who can win in the sprints. They are starting to focus more in the GC and stage races, so that’s where I hope I can help out,” Fairly explained. “My goals are little bit later in the season, helping guys like Warren, Tom, and Simon, in some of the Ardennes, or the stage races.”
And what about his own ambitions? Fairly’s never won an elite, European-level race, but he’s hoping to get his chances with Giant-Alpecin this season.
“They’ve said there will be opportunities for me. Maybe within races, finding a good breakaway in some of the long stage races,” he said. “I’d like to try my luck.”