You raced you first season in the Team Sunweb colours this year, what’s it been like to race at WorldTour level?
Until about April, I would describe it as terrifying. The level and chaos of the racing in Europe is quite hard to explain. It took me a little while to find my feet in the bunch, let’s just say that.I had one Tour Down Under in 2016 with UniSA, but that was a little different. I didn’t have a support role to fulfil as such and I could find my own way. But when there a race win on the line and there’s roles you MUST do to achieve, that there’s a bit more pressure.
But the team have been so good for me, very understanding of my lack of experience. Eventually, after a few big races and a lot of work, we got there and I’m now quite confident in myself. And it made a big difference to the second half of my season.
How was your debut at La Vuelta? That would have been a great experience!
Very much a surprise, I never expected to be doing a Grand Tour in my first year, but things went pretty well for the start of my season, I guess; and I got a call up! Obviously, I had no idea what it was going to be like, all you can do is listen to the more experienced guys and hope for the best. And don’t crash. That was a common pointer. The first few days were raced a bit harder than I anticipated. "Come on guys, we still have 2 and a half weeks to go…"
But it didn’t slow down, at least not that I noticed. It really gave me an appreciation of what level the top guys are on; something that can’t be seen from the sidelines. But we had a bug go through out team and at about 2/3 of the way through we were down to just 5 riders, so that made things a little harder. But in the end, Wilco Kelderman finished in 4th place, much exceeding everyone’s expectations. It was an amazing ride.