Hot off finishing the Vuelta a España, Christian Vande Velde is looking to end his tumultuous 2010 season on a high note with a strong showing at the world championships in Australia.
The Vuelta became an important milestone for Vande Velde, 33, who crashed out of both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France earlier this season. The veteran Garmin-Transitions captain battled back from injury to get through a very challenging and difficult Spanish tour in strong condition.
“I feel great. I am really glad that I did come to the Vuelta. I was glad that Whitey (sport director Matt White) told me to jump on the plane and see what happens. I am glad we had that talk,” Vande Velde told VeloNews. “There’s no way I would have the same fitness I have right now if I had been training by myself to get ready for two one-days in Canada. I’m glad I came. I’m doing the worlds now and looking forward to be representing in Australia.”
Now he’s going to carry that momentum into Australia, where he will ride in support of Garmin-Transitions teammate and U.S. team captain Tyler Farrar. Vande Velde will be one of the important riders for Farrar, who lines up as America’s best shot at the rainbow jersey in years.
“Who knows about the course. We’ve heard everything from it could be 20 guys or it could be 80 guys. A lot depends on the weather, it could turn into a classic, the field could be shattered even before we hit the finishing circuit. Anything could happen,” he continued. “Tyler’s got good form and it’s going to get better and better until the worlds.”
Vande Velde is hoping a solid conclusion to his otherwise frustrating 2010 season will help him as he looks ahead to new goals for next year. Vande Velde has some unfinished business with the Tour, where he rode to fourth in 2008 and eighth in 2009.
Getting through an extremely difficult and challenging Vuelta will only help carry fitness into next season. Vande Velde said the Vuelta was one of the hardest and most interesting he’s ever raced.
“We had first tough week that didn’t go under 100 degrees. It’s been nasty. They’ve thrown something in every, whether it’s a Cat. 1 in the middle stage, or 7,000 feet of climbing on a sprint stage. It was tough,” he said. “They did a great job with the race. I don’t if it’s ASO that’s raising the class of it, everything from the roads, to the hotels, it’s been highly successful. We enjoyed it a lot.”