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Cyclocross champ Julien Taramarcaz becomes BMC road stagiaire

September 8, 2013

Julien Taramarcaz resting his legs in a BMC Racing Team car in Richfield, Utah

Julien Taramarcaz resting his legs in a BMC Racing Team car in Richfield, Utah

[updated September 13, 2013]

August 6, 2013 marked a different kind of first for this 25 year-old cyclist who knows what it’s like to touch the highest podium step.

On that day Julien Taramarcaz competed in his first professional road race as a stagiaire with BMC Racing Team in stage 1 of the Tour of Utah. He came to help the team in a domestique support role and learn from the six day event.

The lessons and hard work began with stage 1 from Brian Head into Cedar City when the team decided to help chase down a two-man break-away so Greg Van Avermaet could contest the finish.

Taramarcaz found no time to cast his brown eyes over the hayfields and colorful rock formations.

“I just had to go on the front and pull like 100 k with my teammate,” he said two days later in Richfield, Utah. “It was a good day.” With the team fighting for a win – which Van Avermaet delivered, it was a day packed with opportunities to learn as a trainee on the road.

Where he began

Taramarcaz is a member of the BMC Mountainbike Racing Team. He’s also the current Swiss national cyclocross champion and has won that national title in the junior and U23 categories as well.

About the age of sixteen he began mountain biking and riding cyclocross during the winter. But it was the doyenne of road races that set in motion the dream of becoming a professional cyclist. “I think since I am maybe 15 or so I was on my sofa watching the Tour de France and I said, ‘One time I’d like to be there.’”

As a 16 to 17 year-old he claimed ten junior cyclocross victories, second place at junior cyclocross Worlds, and a Swiss road championship. Wins and podiums continued in both cycling disciplines into his U23 years, with cyclocross the focus. He signed his first professional cycling contract with the BMC Mountainbike Racing Team for the 2011 season.

Fitting in

In Utah the stagiaire worked to defend Van Avermaet’s best sprinter jersey. He finished the Utah race and went on to complete the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado where he helped Tejay van Garderen earn and keep the overall leader’s jersey.

BMC boys at Starbucks before racing the Salt Lake City circuit

BMC boys at Starbucks before racing the Salt Lake City circuit

He seemed at ease with his new skinny-tire teammates who have more experience on the pavement. When asked in Utah what it was like as a stagiaire in their midst, he said all of the guys were motivated, fun to be around, young, happy to be there, and doing their best. Just like him.

The young rider’s demeanor mirrored his biography on the mountain bike team website. It reads: “Young, ambitious and fearless are the words that describe Julien Taramarcaz precisely. He doesn‘t get intimidated or even impressed by the palmares he lines up next to. He is not afraid of throwing himself into the deep end.”

Taramarcaz believes road racing will bolster his continued ambitions in cyclocross, which include a world championship within the next two years. “…for that I have to ride maybe on the road a bit more,” he explained, “because I need more power and maybe also a big basis for all the winter long. And I think the best way to get this condition is on the road.”

Like cyclist, like farmer

Conditions for forming a successful pro-cyclist surrounded him from his earliest days.

Ever since he can remember, Taramarcaz helped his father outdoors on the family farm, tending apple, pear, and apricot trees as well as a vineyard. When he retires from the sport, he intends to grow fruit.

“It’s a very nice life,” he said, working with and learning from the earth that supports the trees that yield fruit. “And you have always to work to have some salary. It’s the same in cycling – if you don’t work you don’t have a result.”

The Swiss champ left the interview for this story to head to the Tour of Utah stage 3 start. Grasping his BMC road bike in a cyclocross carry, he hurtled a ditch on the side of the road, hopped on the bike cyclocross style, and pedaled over the grass to join the peloton, ready for another day’s work.

ttt

Julien Taramarcaz

  • age: 25
  • born: Fully, Switzerland
  • results highlights: 2013/2012 – Swiss cyclocross champion. Prior years: former Swiss national U23 and junior cyclocross champion, junior Swiss national road champion, and 2nd U23 time trial championships
Julien Taramarcaz shows off his cyclocross skills

Julien Taramarcaz shows off his cyclocross skills

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This story is the first in the ProVéloPassion stagiaire series. See also the story about Fu Shiu Cheung.

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