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He might only be 24 but Tobias Foss is already feeling like an older statesman inside the peloton.
The former Tour de l’Avenir winner has enjoyed a steady trajectory throughout his career with gradual progression netting him ninth in last year’s Giro d’Italia.
The Norwegian was sixth overall in the Volta ao Algarve this week, despite a crash on stage 3, and he put in an impressive time trial over the 32.2km course on stage 4. Once more the Giro d’Italia will form the centerpiece to his campaign but with so many younger riders coming through and making instant impressions Foss is well aware that nothing gets easier as time passes by.
“That’s a really good point,” he told VeloNews and other members of the press corps when asked about the young generation and the instant impressions so many of them have made in the last two years or so.
“To be honest I feel like a really old man now because all the 19- and 20-year-olds are coming. It’s also been a struggle for me because people are getting younger and younger, but you have to take your own development path and enjoy it. You need to trust the work that you’re putting in because then your time will come. So far, it’s going okay but it’s also a struggle.”
Foss’s biggest blind spot, he says, has been his consistency over the last few years. He has also talked about the balance between dropping weight and remaining powerful on the bike but his ride in Algarve demonstrated the improvements he has made in recent months.
He was one of the strongest on the two summit finishes and then finished fourth in the long time trial. He would have surely been in content for a podium place without that crash on stage 3 that left him banged up.
“I feel like I’ve been quite irregular or unstable in the time trials in the past but, normally in a TT, I’m quite good. I’m quite heavy to be a climber, so I have some power that’s quite helpful in a time trial. I’ve also trained a lot for it,” he said.
“I feel like that’s my weak spot, consistency. Keeping my physical level stable, especially with the weight, that’s the challenge that I have but I’m starting to crack that code.”
Foss has several more races before he heads to Hungary for the start of the Giro d’Italia, with Strade Bianche and Coppi e Bartali on his provisional schedule. At the Giro, he will link up with his teammate and former winner Tom Dumoulin, and both riders will start with protected roles.
Dumoulin hasn’t raced a grand tour since 2020 and Jumbo-Visma will be determined to keep the pressure off as they enter the first three-week race of the year. For Foss, the main objective is to arrive at the start of the race in better shape than he had in 2021 and go from there.
He recognizes that Dumoulin has the better pedigree and palmarès but the Norwegian road champion clearly has his own ambitions too.
“I was also top 10 last year so some sort of pressure I have to have, and also support Tom in that way. For sure he is a better rider than me and he’s done so really good results and that helps a rider like me.
“Of course, I have my own dreams, for sure. The reason I’m doing what I’m doing is because I want to develop. I always want to improve so as long as I’m in better shape at the start than I was last year, then I’m happy. I’ll race full gas with Tom and we’ll see what happens. But for sure I have my own dreams.”