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Favorite pro-cycling quotes of the week: ups and downs, old and new stars

April 8, 2013

On any given day some bike racers ride a high while others try to claw their way out of the basement. This edition of favorite cycling quotes from last week includes comments from or about Nairo Quintana, the newest overall winner of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Hayden Roulston on what it’s like to race with Fabian Cancellara, and Andy Schleck who continues his road to recovery.

George Hincapie retired after the 2012 USA Pro Challenge. Here he greets spectators in Denver.

George Hincapie retired after the 2012 USA Pro Challenge. Here he greets spectators in Denver.

But first, retired pro George Hincapie delighted cycling fans with in-the-know commentary on the route and challenges facing the riders via his Twitter stream during Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix. For the first year in a long time Hincapie rode his sofa instead of his bike and didn’t breathe cobble dust as this classics monument wound through northern France.

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard Trek) won the 2013 Paris-Roubaix. What’s it like to race on the same team with such a famous rider? Cancellara’s teammate, Hayden Roulston, shared his thoughts on that topic Saturday with SBS’ Cycling Central.

“You’ve got to remember that Fabian is a big star who is someone who has done a lot of races and who has done a lot of great things on the bike. If you are new to the team you could be intimidated by him, and it is important not to have that. You don’t want to be intimidated by your leader, you want to be able to speak freely, laugh, and take the piss. All of that is a very big deal.”

Colombian riders attacked last week’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco with strength and nerve. Nairo Quintana (MoviStar) won a rainy stage and subsequently the overall race. Quintana grew up in the Boyaca region of Colombia, an area that has turned out numerous excellent cyclists and continues to do so. The author of the Cycling Inquisition blog who is Colombian and now living in the U.S., specializes in stories about retired and active Colombian cyclists. Last week he reposted a piece about Quintana in which he wrote,

“Like so many other great cyclists from Colombia, and from Boyacá in particular, Quintana’s parents are peasants, who raised him in what the newspaper El Espectador referred to as ‘precariously difficult economic conditions’…The trip to school was treacherous, and often left a young Nairo absolutely exhausted due to the difficulty of the terrain. So the young man’s family had to save up, and his father bought a used mountain bike for the equivalent of $30. Nairo treasured the bike, and slowly began to daydream during his rides to school. Every time he rode the bike, he pictured himself racing, and winning a stage that always ended on a mountaintop (which was actually his home).”

VeloNews interviewed Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard Trek) during the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Conversation focused on Schleck’s Tour de France plans as well as his continuing re-entry into racing.

“I haven’t experienced this before in my career. It’s something new. It’s the life of a cyclist. You have ups and downs in life. When you’re down, it takes a long time to come back up again. I still love riding my bike. I really enjoy racing.” — Andy Schleck

[For a view from the team car during Paris-Roubaix, see Sean Weide’s Facebook album. Weide is a press officer for the BMC Racing Team. Log into Facebook to view the album.]

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