For American neo-pro Ian Boswell, Paris-Nice is the latest adventure

As if riding next to Bradley Wiggins wasn't enough, Sky neo-pro Ian Boswell will ride in Paris-Nice ... and perhaps the Vuelta a Espana, too

LEON, Spain (VN) — It’s one thing to dream of being a pro, it’s quite something else to actually be one.

Ian Boswell is learning just what that means in his rookie season with Sky.

Following his season debut at the Mallorca Challenge and the Volta ao Algarve (Tour of the Algarve), the 21-year-old American will face his first major test at next week’s Paris-Nice. Boswell knows what’s in store.

“It’s awesome to race with these guys and to learn from the best about the races I hope to do well in one day,” Boswell told VeloNews at Algarve last week. “Right now, it’s just follow and help out when I can.”

Boswell made it through his opening races and now pedals into the meat of what’s an impressive racing schedule for a neo-pro.

After Paris-Nice, he is scheduled to race Critérium International, the Vuelta al País Vasco, the Ardennes classics and the Tour de Romandie. That’s an impressive schedule for any pro.

“As a neo-pro, I am really impressed with the races I am going to do,” Boswell said. “That’s the thing with Sky: I am not a classics guy, so they’re not going to send me to Three Days of De Panne.”

Boswell, along with teammate Joe Dombrowski, was among the top recruits to sign with Team Sky for 2013, with team boss David Brailsford calling their signings a “long-term project.” The pair has settled in Nice and will be getting plenty of opportunities to show their potential.

Boswell rides into 2013 following his impressive season last year with Bontrager-Livestrong, which included fifth at the Tour de l’Avenir, second at the under-23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and fifth at the Tour of Utah against a top pro field.

Those results got him noticed. Now it’s about fitting in and racing his bike. So far, it seems Boswell is doing both just fine.

“The American guys have fit into the team very easily,” Team Sky sport director Marcus Ljungqvist told VeloNews. “(Ian) is very easygoing and he’s very excited to be on the team. It will be interesting to see how he develops.”

Nicknamed “the Boz,” Boswell is chronicling his European adventures on his blog.

So far, Boswell says he’s over any initial star shock that might have come with riding next to Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and the likes of Chris Froome.

“I expected to be a bit more shocked to be on Sky. I think I would be more intimidated if I were on another team looking at Sky from the outside,” he said. “I know Sky is a big flashy team, but inside the bus, everyone are just normal guys. It’s real mellow.”

Team Sky is taking care of their young charge. When Boswell noticed minor knee pain flare up when he switched bikes, cleats and pedals in the move to Team Sky at a January camp on Mallorca, what was supposed to be a short visit turned into a month-long stay because the team wanted to get it right.

“The communication is amazing, everything is dialed, be it nutrition, training, equipment,” he said. “It’s a great place to start my career.”

Depending on how things go, Boswell might race the Vuelta a España later this season. And if he doesn’t, he’ll be racing back home.

“It’s a win-win situation. We’ll decide later if I do the Vuelta. If not, I will do Colorado (USA Pro Challenge), which I’ve never done before,” he said. “I am hoping to do the Vuelta if I am ready for it. I know the team has big ambitions for that race for some of the riders, so I wouldn’t want to go if I would be the weak link.”

Boswell has no illusions about what his 2013 season will be about. At Team Sky, it’s a like going to race class every day and he plans to make the most of it.

“I am just here to learn. I am waiting to see how the level is in those types of races. Right now, it’s to get some experience and see where I am at,” he said. “It’s all about learning and building for the future; to see what I need to do in the coming years to be successful.”

Team Sky is handing Boswell the keys to the peloton. He seems ready to walk through the door.