2013 News

Brent and Jamie Bookwalter to ride in Dempsey Challenge

Husband and wife pro cyclists Brent and Jamie Bookwalter of Asheville, North Carolina will take part in fifth annual Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen. It will mark their first appearance at the non-competitive fundraising event taking place Oct. 12-13 in Lewiston, ME. The couple will join fellow pro riders Freddie Rodriguez, Ally Stacher, Carmen Small and Alison Tetrick.

Q&A: Bookwalter ‘very excited’ to return to the Tour

MADRID — Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) knows the next three weeks are going to be pure hell, but he couldn’t be happier.

The American was tapped to return to the Tour de France this week by BMC, a relief for the all-rounder who missed out on racing the Tour in 2012 after starting the previous two editions.

A strong start to the 2013 season, including his first European-level win with a stage and podium at the Tour of Qatar, helped him regain his spot on BMC’s Tour Nine.

VeloNews caught up with Bookwalter at his European base in Girona on Tuesday by telephone to talk BMC’s strategy, the tricky Corsican roads, and what makes the Tour so bloody hard. Here are excerpts from the interview:

VeloNews.com: First off, congratulations on being selected for BMC’s Tour Nine. When did you find out?
Brent Bookwalter: Not too long before you did. I got the call a few hours before the press release went out. I was very excited. It’s always an honor to go to the Tour. And looking back at last season, and where I’ve come from this season, I made up some serious spots. In January, I was maybe 14 or 15 on the Tour long list. I had to work hard to prove to the team that I deserved it and that I am capable of being there. It all just worked out in the nick of time. I was up an altitude camp with Cadel and [Steve] Morabito. We went there [in Switzerland] straight after the Dauphiné. I didn’t know if I was going to the Tour, but Cadel gave me an opportunity to go. Regardless of if I was going to the Tour or not, it’s always good to have a training camp to stay focused on the game. I am really happy I went. It paid some dividends.

VN: There are some big names not going to the Tour, including Thor Hushovd, that must make you feel pretty good …
BB: There is so much that goes into the selection process for the Tour. I have respect for the management’s decisions, and for the guys who are on the list, and for the ones who didn’t make it. After missing the Tour last year, I know how that is.

VN: You said it was difficult to miss the Tour last year, how did that affect you?
BB: I have a new appreciation and respect for the Tour, for getting selected, for having the opportunity to go, to represent our team and our sport. It’s also important for “my team,” by which I mean my family, my wife, my coach, my friends, all those people who are always behind me and supporting me, no matter what. This is the most tangible race for them. Not being there last year left me with an empty feeling. I’ve realized what an honor it was and is to be in the Tour.

VN: You rode two Tours, including helping Evans win the 2011 Tour, how big of a surprise or disappointment was it last year when you were not selected?
BB: The first Tour, I really didn’t have a grasp of what it meant to be in the Tour. I got on the Tour team in the last minute. And then it just seemed like it would be a logical progression to be on the Tour team every year after that. After seeing the race from the outside last year, I realize what an honor it is to go back and to represent all those ‘shareholders’ that I talked about.

VN: What are the marching orders for you from the team? Purely a support role for Cadel and Tejay?
BB: Without a doubt, I am there to support Cadel and also Tejay. We’re going there for a good overall for Cadel. For me, it’s a question of doing whatever I am asked of from the team on the day. I don’t fit into the pure climber’s role or the flat-lander specialist guy. I am more of a broad skillset-type rider, and that can be a good thing and a bad thing at the Tour. Personally for me, I take it day by day, and not get too far ahead of myself. Each day is a challenge enough. You try to get through each day as best you can, then hit the reset button.

VN: After having ridden two Tours, do you have new respect for the riders who can actually manage to challenge for the yellow jersey?
BB: The stars have to align in so many ways to win the Tour. And some of those stars need to line up weeks and months before the Tour even starts. There are a number of guys who have a realistic chance of winning the Tour, and Cadel is one of them. We have a good team. We have six guys who were there in 2011. To be back with the same group of guys, to know how it unfolded, and that we won, we can take strength from that.

VN: You’ve spent plenty of time around Evans over the past few years, what’s his mood and confidence coming into this Tour?
BB: It’s hard for me to even provide commentary on that, because over the past few years, my field of vision has changed and broadened in a big way. I see Cadel in a completely different light. He’s a Tour winner. Not many people can say that. To think back in 2011, at that point, we knew he was capable of winning the Tour, but he hadn’t done it yet. I wasn’t really aware of the meticulous preparation, of the things that have to go right, avoiding the things that can go wrong. As far as I can see, he’s in a good place. He’s motivated, excited, content and happy. He’s on good form and healthy. The roads will tell the story.

VN: Do you think some fans, media or the peloton might be overlooking Evans?
BB: We just try to focus on what we’re doing, to keep chipping away. We have our plan and strategy. Whether the journalists or public hype a certain guy, we don’t get too worried about that. [Chris] Froome is the favorite on paper. Sky is bringing a strong team and they are going to have more responsibility than other teams. We are going to ride our race and adapt as best we can. It’s 21 grueling days. Just about anything can happen at any moment.

VN: That sounds cliché, but what is it that makes the Tour so demanding compared to other races?
BB: It does sound like a cliché, but the Tour is so much harder and bigger than any race during the whole year. I wish there was some way to show what goes on in every kilometer during each stage. There is never a dull moment. From your legs, to your heart, to your mind, the Tour tests everyone in the race to the maximum. You cannot put it into words.

VN: What is it about the Tour that makes it that way?
BB: That’s a good question, because at the end of the day, we’re still lining up and racing our bikes, we’re on open roads, just like every other race of the year. The stakes are higher. All the eyes of the world are on the Tour. For the team and for the sponsor, it’s the most important race of the year. Historically, it’s the most important. Everyone shows up with their A-game. There’s a lot to gain, and a lot to lose. No one backs down, not even for an instant. Everyone is on edge. Everyone’s fighting for every millimeter. To do that for three weeks straight, there’s no other race like it in the world.

VN: What do you do after the Tour to unwind?
BB: I just relax. I try not to fight anyone for anything for a while! It’s just taking off a huge load. First, I gotta get to Paris. After that, we’ll see. I’d like to go back to do some of the North American races, then coming back to Europe to finish off the season.

VN: And where does Tejay fit in? From the outside, it seems like BMC is riding fully for Cadel, but is the team also thinking of promoting Tejay as well?
BB: What you’re hearing is the same thing we’re hearing. For Tejay, his ride last year was a result of him being there to help Cadel, and rising to the occasion. It’s a similar situation this year. It’s a privilege to have two guys. Sky has Froome and [Richie] Porte. The Tour is 21 days and anything can happen, so having two guys for GC is a big advantage. I haven’t seen Tejay since California, but there, we were rooming together, and he’s super-motivated for the Tour. What you see is what you get with Tejay. He’s excited to get another [Tour] under his belt, and take the opportunities when they come. With Cadel, we have a proven winner of the race.

VN: So it’s the same scenario as last year for Van Garderen? To help Evans, but make a move if it’s opportune?
BB: It’s the same situation as last year. He didn’t go into the Tour to race to drop Cadel and finish higher than him. There are so many variables in the Tour. One day you’re up, the next day you can be down. We are going to protect Tejay for the critical moments, and that’s when he can help Cadel.

VN: What’s your big picture view on the GC?
BB: It’s a different Tour than last year. With the heavy distances of time trials, with [Bradley] Wiggins being so good, it was set up to be more controlled and scripted. This year, there are more mountain days. A super-hard first week. The team time trial. A brutal final week. Anything can happen. I am just looking forward to getting to Corsica, to getting the show on the road. I want to get through the first few days and settle into the rhythm of racing the Tour.

VN: You’ve raced before on Corsica at Critérium International, we hear the roads are quite narrow, how are they?
BB: A lot of the roads are very narrow. At Critérium, the peloton is pretty small compared to the Tour, and the roads are small for that race. A lot of the roads are rough, there was a lot of dirt and rocks on the roads. There are quite a few exposed cliffs. There is not a lot of infrastructure. It’s not the roads we typically see at the Tour, but you’re seeing more and more lately, they’re putting us on some pretty rough roads in all the races.

VN: They say it’s the hardest opening weekend in more than 20 years, what are your expectations?
BB: It’s definitely going to be hard. From my perspective, I’ve only done two Tours, but it’s by far the hardest opening weekend of the Tours I’ve done. From a GC perspective, it’s a risky start. There are more places to miss out or lose time. The terrain will make it even more so. It’s the riders who always make the race. Even on flatter, more open roads, crazy carnage can happen at any time. It’s business as usual, trying to get through the first week in one piece, even more so because of the twisty, small Corsican roads.

You can read the original article here: http://www.velonews.com/2013/06/news/qa-bookwalter-very-excited-to-return-to-the-tour_292104

Cadel: My team is stronger than in 2011

With the Tour de France just days away, Cadel Evans has said the eight riders selected to support him are stronger than those who rode alongside him in his 2011 triumph.

BMC selected six of the riders who rode in 2011 and probably would have selected seven, had George Hincapie not retired.

The combination of Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, Phillipe Gilbert, Amaël Moinard, Steve Morabito, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schar and Tejay van Garderen give BMC significant power in their lineup.

Van Garderen was BMC’s best performing rider last year, finishing fifth and claiming the Best Young Rider’s white jersey.

However, van Garderen has said the white jersey is not his aim, but helping Cadel win is.

“The white jersey wasn’t a goal of mine last year and it’s not again this year,” he said.

Gilbert, although usually a breakaway and one-day specialist has said he will do everything possible to deliver Cadel in yellow on the Champs-Elysee.

“For me, I am just a helper, but it will be special to be part of the 100th Tour de France,” said the current World Road Champion.

Gilbert’s ability to get into an early breakaway will provide Evans an opportunity to attack if needed and pick up a strong teammate along the way.

Bookwalter and Burghardt, according to Evans, were two of his best in the team time trial and flat stages in 2011, keeping him near the front and setting the pace when needed.

Bookwalter himself is in good form, finishing second in the USA National Time trial, Road race and Tour of Qatar.

BMC is improving every year in their team time trial results, having van Garderen in form as well as Gilbert is a good sign for BMC.

They will give more than able support to Evans in the time trial. Van Garderen may even be the driver given his time-trialling ability.

Along with Burghardt, Quinziato and Schar are described as Cadel’s ‘guardian angels’ – the men who will do everything in their power to keep him safe and in one piece.

Frenchman, Amael Moinard was a key man in assisting Cadel in his win in the 2012 Criterium International and will again take his place in the lineup.

Evans was bullish about his team’s climbing chances this year, saying “we are a lot stronger in the mountains than in previous years.”

If Evans is able to be ably supported by his men it will be a welcome relief for the Australian, who has had to ride solo a lot in his career due to being too strong for his teammates.

Both van Garderen and Gilbert will provide good support in the mountains, allowing for Cadel to either attack or defend with teammates around.

The most promising signs for BMC are the fact they finished first in the team classification in both the Tour of Oman and the Tour of Qatar.

Both of those tours featured high powered teams from Sky and Saxo-Tinkoff. That would definitely be a boost for BMC.

Not only that but BMC will not field a debutante in this year’s Tour. Every one of the riders have experienced the Tour and as such it will not be a new experience for them.

An important factor when your are attempting to deliver your team captain to his second Tour win.

Nothing is certain in the Tour and form can float up and down in those 3 weeks in July. Every rider will have to perform to their best to have Cadel in yellow once more but there’s nothing to say they can’t do it.

BMC Racing names veteran crew to assist Cadel Evans in 2013 Tour de France

BMC Racing Team will surround Cadel Evans with a cadre of veterans for the 100th edition of the Tour de France.

Among the Australian’s teammates are six riders who supported Evans during his 2011 Tour victory: Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, Amaël Moinard, Steve Morabito, Manuel Quinziato and Michael Schär.

Joining them will be reigning world road champion Philippe Gilbert and last year’s best young rider, Amgen Tour of California winner Tejay van Garderen.

“We have a really strong team and can go to Corsica with a lot of confidence with this team of experienced guys,” said sports director John Lelangue. “They are all in good shape and focused on a sole objective.”

Evans, who will start his ninth Tour de France coming off a third-place finish at the Giro d’Italia last month, said his recovery and training “have progressed well this time as we attempt the Giro-Tour double.”

Evans said the team is even stronger than the 2011 squad.

“I am happy to have my three guardian angels — Quinziato, Burghardt and Schär — around me, plus Brent, Amaël and Steve from our successful 2011 team,” he said. “And with Tejay coming into the mix, we are a lot stronger in the mountains than in past years.”

Van Garderen, who was fifth last year in his second Tour appearance, said repeating as the race’s best young rider is not an objective.

“The white jersey wasn’t a goal of mine last year and it’s not again this year,” he said. “It just came along with me being up there every day, helping Cadel, which is my focus again this year.”

The 100th Tour de France starts June 29 in Corsica.

BMC Racing Team for the 2013 Tour de France
Brent Bookwalter (USA)
Marcus Burghardt (GER)
Cadel Evans (AUS)
Tejay van Garderen (USA)
Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
Amaël Moinard (FRA)
Steve Morabito (SUI)
Manuel Quinziato (ITA)
Michael Schär (SUI)

You can read the original story here: http://www.velonews.com/2013/06/news/bmc-racing-names-veteran-crew-to-assist-cadel-evans-in-2013-tour-de-france_291717

Bookwalter: 'We're on the same team'

BMC Racing Team's Brent Bookwalter makes his living as a worker bee, riding in support of a team goal. But this season he's also made the most of his rare opportunities to shine.

Bookwalter, 29, won the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar by edging two other breakaway riders at the finish line just as the peloton caught them. At the U.S. Championships earlier this spring, Bookwalter was runner-up in both the time trial and the road race. He was outsprinted by veteran Freddie Rodriguez in the latter, an outcome Bookwalter has re-lived a few times. The weekend was notable for another reason: the first-ever joint men's and women's national championships meant Bookwalter and wife Jamie (Colavita Racing) competed in the same place on alternate days.

Raised in Grand Rapids, Mich., Bookwalter was a multiple collegiate road and mountain biking champion and honors biology graduate at Lees-McRae (N.C.) College. Bookwalter took second place in the opening time trial prologue of the 2010 Giro d'Italia and has twice finished the Tour de France, riding for 2011 winner Cadel Evans. He was also part of Tejay van Garderen's first pro stage race victory last month at the Tour of California.

Bookwalter recently spoke to ESPN.com by telephone from Europe. The following are excerpts from the conversation:

Ford: What did your two podiums at the U.S. Championships mean for you going forward?

Bookwalter: For me, it was a little bit of a transition. The past few years, I've felt like there was a possibility for me to win either title, I had the potential, but still felt like I needed a lot of circumstances and needed to get a little bit lucky. And of course that's still the case, as we saw from last weekend. The biggest thing I took away from it was confidence that I'm right there and capable of winning one of those titles. Hopefully I can make it happen before the end of my career. It was disappointing to come away with two seconds, especially in the road race, being the only rider there from our team. So many things had to come together, and I had to ride in a real particular way to get a shot at the win. And then to have it and miss it by such a small margin was frustrating. I've been kind of replaying it a lot, trying to make peace with it and move on.

Are you getting better at making that mental shift from being a domestique to going after your own chances in races now and then?

That's a huge challenge. Ninety to 95 percent of the race days I do out of the year with this team, I have a very explicit and demanding role, which is using every ounce of energy to help for a common team goal and help other leaders. I'm happy and honored to be in that position on this team with such a talented roster. But at the same time, I'm a competitor, and I still do have a drive to win. It takes a different mental training and approach to be able to switch into those moments and see them and seize them and actually be prepared to capitalize on them. I've been trying to work on that, and I feel like making good on those moments is more realistic the older I get and the more depth I get. A couple of years back, I kind of felt like I was always racing a little over my head, and with such a stacked team you think, 'If I ever do get an opportunity, what are the chances of me actually having what it takes to convert on this?' But now, I'm starting to get the experience, and everything's coming together so I can be a little closer.

How much has it helped your overall mindset to be strong and grounded in the time trial, even though you can't always go for broke there either?


Even that's been a learning experience in terms of what's realistic. I'm finding more and more that to do a good time trial at this level, I really need a course that's suited for me. There aren't many time trialists out there who can be good and obtain a result on every course at any distance -- there are very few of those guys, and unfortunately, I'm not one of them. I do think it's an asset and a strength of mine. I need the right course, the right distance and the green light from the team and the right circumstances in the race for the team to be able to go for it. It's something I still take pride in and train on and am still trying to improve at. It's nice to have a little facet of the sport where I have a little more control. I like the one-on-one effort of it and just racing myself.

As the husband of an elite racer, do you think the men's peloton has a role to play in helping boost women's cycling?

Without a doubt, they do. That's a question we have the responsibility of asking ourselves. In a sense, we're sort of all on the same team. Bike racing isn't a big enough world that we're able to draw a line. We all need to try to be as unified as we can. A victory for them is also a victory for us, because we're out there doing the same thing and it's a small niche. For now, I'm just trying to be as much of an advocate for women's cycling as I can. Jamie getting into racing at a little bit higher level has definitely given me a new appreciation for that. Getting to know some of her teammates and listening to her stories from the road and working with the women's national team a little bit, I feel more connected to it and more behind it than ever. I think guys are becoming more sympathetic to their plight and more behind the movement for greater and more powerful women's cycling. I'd like to see the governing body of our sport give them a little more attention and try to find solutions. If you're going to have a men's event and all the infrastructure is there, and you have these world-class women athletes available, why not include them and give it more substantial impact on the sport or the community we're in? It makes it a more evolved and more well-rounded event.

You can read the original article here: http://www.espn.com/sports/endurance/story/_/id/9400341/endurance-sports-bookwalter-supporting-role-boosting-women-cycling

Pez Cycling News: PEZ Talk: BMC’s Brent Bookwalter

Courtesy of PezCyclingNews.com, by Edmond Hood

Some say that last is the worst spot to finish a race; but there's also a school of thought which says second place is the worst. And some would say that the worst races to finish second in are National or World Championships; the winner gets to wear the champion's jersey for a whole year – the runner-up gets the silver medal to toss in a drawer, somewhere. BMC's Brent Bookwalter had to endure that feeling twice in the one week.

He finished second to big chrono specialist Tom Zirbel (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) in the US Elite Time Trial Championship. And he was second again, to Freddie Rodriguez (Jelly Belly Cycling p/b Kenda) just days later in the US Elite Road Race Championship. Bookwalter has a good record in the Nationals; he was second in the U23 TT and third in the U23 cyclo-cross Championships in 2005 in the colours of Advantage Benefits-Endeavour. And the following year, with Priority Health he won the National U23 Road Race Championship and was silver medallist in the Time Trial Championship.

It was 2008 when he signed for BMC and has been there ever since; that first year saw a mostly US programme but there was a foray to Europe and he rode the Tour of Romandie.

In 2009 he won Tour of Utah prologue and broadened his Euro experience, riding Romandie again and the Dauphine. A year later he rode Tirreno and produced the result which thrust him firmly into the public consciousness, second to Bradley Wiggins (Sky) in the Giro prologue. He also rode the Tour de France that year.

He would ride le Tour the following year as well as the Tour de Suisse – and finish fourth in the US National Elite TT Championship. The programme for 2012 was a full one; Paris-Nice, Romandie, Suisse and the Vuelta – and he moved up to bronze in the time trial Nationals.

This year saw his best ever start to the season, winning stage one of the Tour of Qatar then defending it in the best possible way with BMC winning the stage two TTT – he'd eventually finish the race in second spot overall. And most recently, he grabbed his brace of silvers in Chattanooga.

We caught him just off the massage table as he prepared for the start of the Dauphine.

PEZ: The TT Nationals, fourth in 2011, bronze in 2012 and silver, this year – you have to win in 2014, Brent?

Well, I sure hope it turns out like that!

PEZ: It was always going to be hard to beat Zirbel on that course.

Yeah, it was a straightforward course, rolling a little – all about power.Zirbel was my minute man so we were keeping tabs on him and he was killing me on the down hills. But he's a good time trial rider; don't forget he's been fourth in the Worlds (to Fabian Cancellara, Gustav Larsson and Tony Martin in Mendrisio 2009, ed.) so he's no slouch. I did the best ride I could on the day.

PEZ: Were you happy with your ride in the road race?

Extremely happy, except for the last 10 metres! I felt good all day, I rode smart and was pro-active and didn't get caught out with splits. I was attentive and focused and was always at the front. When Phil Gaimon (Bissell) got away things got a bit hairy – but approaching the finish I had good position but coming into the last 500 metres Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) – who took bronze – had a mechanical issue and that let Freddie get the jump on us and I couldn't quite get back to him.

It was disappointing to be so close, but there are so many variables in a sprint – my finish was a good one; I checked my power files after the race and it's the most power I've ever produced in a sprint.

PEZ: Freddie, a surprise?

A little, I didn't know what to expect from him – but I saw him early on the big climb looking comfortable and strong. His team is a good one and when we got onto the finish circuit and he was still there I knew he'd be a factor. He just did what he does best – sprinting from a small group . . .

PEZ: Do you 'Euro Guys' ever consider a combine against the 'Home Guys?'

It's something I had thought about and I'm good friends with Matt Busche, Ted King and Timmy Duggan; we've been on the same career path. There was no agreement, no plan – but if it wasn't me winning then I'd be happy if it was one of them. And I certainly wouldn't chase them down to make them lose and end up fifth myself. But we were all there to win and do our best . . .

PEZ: What did you do between the Tour of California and the Nationals?

My home is in Ashville, North Carolina which isn't that far from Chattanooga, so it's the only race on my programme which I can drive to. It was nice to be able to spend a bit of time at home and then put the bike in the car and drive to the race.

PEZ: I believe it was 'darn hot' in California.

All the Euro Guys had to endure a cold, wintery spring so the heat came as a real shock. It felt brutal, but the BMC staff did a great job of looking after us. And of course we were switched on for the race because we had a big reason to be there in Tejay van Garderen (who eventually won the race. ed.) If you have a focus then the cold and heat don't seem to affect you so much.

PEZ: How many times have you ridden and how do you think the race is maturing?

I've ridden it in 2007/11/12/13 – four times. I feel like in the cycling world it's getting bigger and bigger in terms of the teams who ride and the infrastructure – that summit finish on Mount Diablo was spectacular.

And whilst my perspective may be skewed – because I first rode the race before I'd been exposed to the biggest European races – I don't think there as many fans roadside as when I first rode. There were times when I was riding along thinking; "where is everyone?" But we were racing through some dramatic, barren countryside in scorching heat – so you're not going to get 10,000 folks roadside on a weekday.

PEZ: You hit the ground running in Qatar, this year.

I was definitely motivated to train well over the winter – and there's also another year of maturing as a rider. My home in North Carolina is an awesome training base, I enjoy riding there and my preparation was good. And missing Tour selection fired me up. We had a really good training camp in Denia in Spain in January – the wind was terrible for the duration. But we couldn't have had better preparation for Qatar – it was great practice for riding in echelons and getting to know each other under those conditions. It was so exciting to be part of that winning TTT in stage two.

It was only a superb Mark Cavendish who spoiled the BMC party in Qatar with Cav taking the GC just ahead of Brent and Taylor Phinney.

PEZ: Everyone seems to have been sick, this spring – did you manage to avoid it?

I rode Paris-Nice but then I had a tough patch with allergies and had to quit the Pais Vasco. After that I kinda rushed back for the Ardennes Classics; I like those races and was really inspired to ride well in support of Phil Gilbert. I think I paid for rushing back in Romandie where I was DNF – and I'm now sitting looking out my hotel window the day before the Dauphine starts and I can hardly see anything for the rain and fog!

PEZ: It's been a hectic season for you – when will you take a break?

Good question! I'd like one but if the team needs me, I'm there. The Dauphine is a really important race for me; I'm on the long list for the Tour but how I ride here will have a big influence on the selection. Whether or not I go to the Tour de France will decide how my programme maps out – at the moment it's uncertain. In the short term I just want to get over the jet lag from flying back from the US and stay healthy and motivated.

Brent has been there before for Cadel at the Tour and is hoping to be there again this year.

PEZ: That's six years with BMC, what have been the biggest changes?

When the team started in 2008 it was a much smaller squad and the focus was on the US. Now we're one of the strongest teams in the world with some of the world's best riders. It's a completely different team with a new set of objectives. But that said, Andy Rhys still has the same core values for the team and it feels comfortable and familiar – and we still get to ride the same great bikes!

PEZ: Final question – can Cadel win le Tour?

Most definitely! He's done it in the past and his Giro performance shows that he's on track. And he'll have eight capable and highly motivated riders to back him up!

You can read the original article here: http://www.lmcbobcats.com/sports/cycle/2013-14/releases/20130625cq3iu1

Pro nationals give Brent and Jamie Bookwalter a rare chance to race together

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (VN) — The Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships will break some new ground this holiday weekend. For the first time in the event’s 28-year history, the men’s and women’s events will be held at the same location, and the fields will be racing for equal prize money.

Meanwhile, for Brent and Jamie Bookwalter, who once lived in Chattanooga, the championships offer a rare opportunity for husband and wife to tackle an event together.

“The only other time we’ve raced together was at Roan Groan [in Johnson City, Tenn.],” said Jamie, who rides for Colavita Racing. “We did a crit together, but that’s the only other road race we’ve ever done together.”

After pausing briefly to reflect upon the accuracy of her statements, she added one additional clarification:

“We did collegiate mountain bike races together, but he was chasing after other girls then, so they don’t count.”

While familiar to one another as a result of their common collegiate racing circles, it was the matchmaking of Specialized-lululemon’s Ally Stacher — also racing in Chattanooga this weekend — that eventually brought the two together. After Brent broke a leg in 2007, Stacher prodded Jamie to reach out to him.

“Ally told me to e-mail Brent when he broke his leg. They went to college together,” Jamie said.

“So I sent this email to Brent saying I was really sorry about his broken leg. And then I didn’t hear anything back from him. And I thought, ‘Well, whatever.’ And then a week later I finally got an email back and it was like, ‘Oh, this guy is kind of cute.’

Jamie replied immediately, but again had to wait days for a response.

“It was a very clever little strategy he had there. He’d wait around to send me anything, but when he did it was really suave,” she said.

“Hey, don’t give away my secrets,” interjected Brent, who rides for BMC Racing and is a favorite in Saturday’s men’s time trial championship.

After college Brent rose into cycling’s professional ranks, while Jamie opted to complete a master’s degree at the University of Georgia before following suit. The couple says sharing a common passion has been a blessing.

“It’s worked out to be a really nice thing for us, because we’re both going through the same things,” said Brent.

He says their common occupation has helped to minimize potential relationship challenges associated with the sport’s unusual lifestyle, noting that the peloton’s often-taxing travel and training demands are “not without challenges.”

“I think generally professional cycling condones a pretty selfish lifestyle. Trying to balance that can be tricky,” he said. “So I’m thankful we have the opportunity to be racing bikes and doing it together.

“We have this chance to share in something really beautiful — and that’s just being out on the bike together.”

Jamie, who placed 23rd in the 2012 championship road race, agrees that the couple’s cycling bond promotes a special kind of understanding.

“Racing has helped me to realize the kind of stress he’s under in ways that maybe I wouldn’t otherwise,” she said.

“It’s hard to understand road racing unless you’ve been on a team and been a worker. You learn how stressful it is to be away from home. Team dynamics can be difficult. You find that cycling is a lot more when you win. So I think we understand one other better as a result.”

As for life’s other stresses, Jamie says she’s ready to share them, too.

“Maybe when he quits road racing he can go get a master’s degree and understand why I was stressed for so long,” she said.

You can read the original story here: http://www.velonews.com/2013/05/news/pro-nationals-give-brent-and-jamie-bookwalter-a-rare-chance-to-race-together_288569?utm_medium=whats-hot

BMC Racing, Bookwalter win Qatar stage 2, defend lead

BMC Racing won the stage 2 team time trial at the Tour of Qatar on Monday, defending overnight leader Brent Bookwalter’s golden leader’s jersey.

Mark Cavendish and Omega Pharma-Quick Step led into the final three teams after setting a time of 16:17, but Sky started second-to-last and displaced Omega Pharma at the line, logging a time of 16:11 for the 14km test.

It was BMC Racing, however, that owned the day, with Taylor Phinney pulling hard to the line for a 16:07.

“You felt everyone of those 14km like it was 20,” said Bookwalter. “The team was just incredible. I’m beside myself… I think it was all for one, one for all today.”

Bookwalter leads teammates Phinney by six seconds and Adam Blythe by 10 seconds in the general classification.

“[Phinney] really led us well today, not just with his pulls but with his leadership,” said Bookwalter. “We’re going to enjoy today; it’s a big team effort, and we’ll come back out to do it again.”

The Tour of Qatar continues Tuesday with the 143km third stage from Al Wakra to Mesaieed.

You can read the original article here: http://www.velonews.com/2013/02/news/bmc-racing-bookwalter-win-qatar-stage-2-defend-lead_273934

All change for Bookwalter at second Tour of Qatar

On his last participation in the Tour of Qatar in 2009, Brent Bookwalter was nervously feeling his way into professional racing at international level, while BMC was a middling Pro Continental team that was straining to punch above its weight in a peloton replete with classics winners and contenders. After six days of high winds and unforgiving speeds, the 101st-placed Bookwalter was doubtless glad to chalk his outing in the Gulf down to experience.

But you cannot step into the same river twice, and even if the conditions, pace and exposed roads of the Tour of Qatar remain unchanged, Bookwalter himself approached the race in a very different state. Now a veteran of four Grand Tours and a mainstay of one of the WorldTour's most expensively-assembled squads, it was a rather more confident Bookwalter who claimed victory on stage 1 at Dukhan Beach on Sunday.

"I came here four years ago, as a second-year pro, and I wasn't ready for it, I got totally blown out of the water," Bookwalter said as he waited at doping control afterwards. "It really blew my mind because of how hard the wind makes the race. But coming back now a few years later, I knew I was a different rider."

Bookwalter's victory was as impressive as it was surprising. After his BMC team had been one of the day's principal aggressors on a day of intermittent crosswinds that repeatedly split the peloton, Bookwalter found himself with four teammates in the lead group on the run-in to the finish and his role was to try and prepare the ground for Taylor Phinney and Adam Blythe in the finale.

"I'd just talked with Taylor and asked him if he wanted me to ride so as to prohibit attacks. That's when those moves went and I saw my chance," Bookwalter said.

When the Swiss pair of Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) and Gregory Rast (RadioShack-Trek) attacked with 10km to go, Bookwalter drifted across instinctively, and by the time he looked back, the trio had put daylight between themselves and the peloton. "It was headwind and I kept telling myself just stay on the wheel and then we'll see how it shuffles," he said of his decision to put his shoulder to the wheel.

In spite of that headwind, however, Bookwalter and company stretched their lead out to some 45 seconds, although that margin tumbled dramatically inside the final three kilometres. The peloton was within touching distance as they entered the finishing straight, but Bookwalter took a calculated gamble by riding on the front to ensure that the leaders would stay clear to contest the sprint.

"I actually was kind of hoping to get one more pull from the others, but they both said no with 500 to go, so I just tried to keep it rolling," he said. When Rast finally came around him, Bookwalter dived onto his wheel and then showed considerable strength to take out the sprint into a stiff headwind.

"It's great for Brent and bit of a surprise; I wouldn't have picked him for a win here, but he outclassed some pretty solid guys," his teammate Phinney said afterwards.

Bookwalter takes the first golden jersey of the race ahead of Monday's team time trial, where BMC will be the last team off. With Phinney and Steve Cummings in their ranks, they are among the favourites for victory, and after placing five riders in the main peloton, BMC have a number of options for overall honours.

"We'll take it one day at a time, but we're here to perform," Bookwalter said. "We have a number of guys in that front group and I think we'll do a good team time trial tomorrow."

Brent Bookwalter wins stage 1 in Qatar, dons 1st leader’s jersey

DUKHAN BEACH, Qatar (VN) — Brent Bookwalter (BMC) won the first stage and donned the leader’s jersey in the Tour du Qatar on Sunday.

The American out-sprinted Martin Elmiger (IAM Pro Cycling) and Grégory Rast (RadioShack-Leopard) to take the honors at the conclusion of the windswept 145km stage from Katara Cultural Village to Dukhan Beach.

The three escaped late in the stage as the peloton was reforming after being sliced into pieces in the desert crosswinds. They built a lead of 45 seconds at one point and barely held off the chase by Mark Cavendish’s Omega Pharma-Quick Step team.

Bookwalter said he was hoping his breakaway companions would start sprinting farther out.

“But they left it really late — they’re both smart, really strong riders,” he said. “But I was able to tuck in just for a second and get around them. I had been telling myself that I was going to win, but it was a shock to see my wheel go over that line first. It was a feeling I haven’t had in a really long time, so it was really special and exciting.”

The race continues Monday with a 14km team time trial.

“We looked at the course yesterday and it’s a pretty typical, Qatar affair,” Bookwalter said. “It will be windy and there’s a couple corners and turnarounds but we have a really good team for it. Today, the guys were really strong and I think we’ll show that again tomorrow.”

With time bonuses, Bookwalter leads Elmiger on the overall by four seconds with Rast third at six seconds.

The goal going in was to race for Taylor Phinney, but conditions may dictate otherwise, according to assistant director Jackson Stewart.

“The guys did everything according to plan today,” Stewart said. “We knew we were always riding for Taylor and he got a few time bonuses. The only thing we’re worried about now is the winds might down die down a little bit. So we are wondering how much harder the stages will be if that happens and how much time is out there to get.”

Phinney, who finished eighth on the stage in the same time as Bookwalter, won the first intermediate sprint and took third in the second to earn the best young rider jersey. He sits fifth overall, six seconds off the lead.

You can read the original article here: http://www.velonews.com/2013/02/news/brent-bookwalter-wins-stage-1-in-qatar-dons-1st-leaders-jersey_273719

Bookwalters take twists and turns together

While we’ve grown familiar with the accounts of an elite athlete’s demanding schedule of training, travel and competition, few and far between are the stories where both spouses are professional cyclists. For Brent and Jamie Bookwalter, who race for BMC and Team Colavita, respectively, juggling a dual-pro athlete household requires a knack for patience, creativity and keeping the big picture in check.

espnW: Tell us a little bit about how you each got into cycling.

Jamie Bookwalter [JB]: I ran cross country and track for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and after a long run of overuse injuries, I dropped my scholarship and took up mountain biking. I raced mountain biking professionally and collegiately for a few years.

Brent Bookwalter [BB]: I got into cycling through mountain biking. My neighbor took me to a race when I was in middle school, and I was hooked. I began racing Michigan mountain bike race series, and worked my way up to racing NORBAs before signing with Priority Health.

espnW: When and how did you two meet?

BB: I was attending Lees-McRae College while Jamie was at Chattanooga, and we met through collegiate cycling and mutual friends.

JB: Brent and I first met while racing collegiate mountain biking, but we didn't know each other well. After he shattered his leg racing for the U.S. U23 team in Belgium, I sent him a consolatory Facebook message. His message back was pretty funny and engaging, and we sent messages back and forth for three months before meeting again at a post-race collegiate dance party in our friend’s basement. He impressed me with his dance moves, even though he couldn't move his broken leg. When he survived one of my camping/mountain bike trips in the pouring rain, I decided he was a keeper.

espnW: When did Brent sign with BMC, and how did that shape your daily routine as a couple? Then, when you signed with Colavita, how did the routine change?

JB: Brent has been with BMC as long was we've been together (five years), and the team has grown with him. When the team moved up to World Tour status, he began renting an apartment in Spain. Because I was in either undergraduate or graduate school for the first four years of our relationship, I visited Spain as much as I could during my breaks, and he came home as much as he could. I've been out of school since December 2011. I lived with Brent in Girona, Spain for the first three months of last year, and then moved back and forth between Spain and the U.S. because all the racing I did with Colavita was in the U.S.

BB: I've been with BMC since we started dating, but there has been a lot of growth from a team and individual perspective since then,. The commitment to the team and level of competition has risen a great deal, so it’s been nice to have been together for that process and adapted to it together. … When Jamie began racing with Colavita, it was a little adjustment because it was the most serious commitment she's had to a cycling team since we've been together. It meant a little more thinking and adjusting when it came time to planning time together. It also meant a little less riding together since she's following her own training plan and not able to join me on a ride whenever it sounds fun.

espnW: During your 10-month race calendar, you split your time between Asheville, N.C., and Girona, Spain, both of which are known for their cycling-conducive training and climates. How does the concept of “home” work for you?

JB: Brent races quite a bit and rarely gets to spend more than a week in one place. I think the maximum time I spent in one place was about two weeks. I've grown to love Girona; the road riding is second to none, and you can ride in the mountains and by the ocean in one ride. The traffic level is very low, and weather is great. I think Brent and I both have found that when we are in Girona, we don't want to leave, but when we are in Asheville, we don't want to leave, either.

BB: We are always on the go, but are fortunate enough to have two incredible locations as our "home bases." Last year, I spent more time in Girona than in Asheville. We could probably get away with not having a full-time American base, but it’s really nice and I believe valuable to have a place and situation to come back to and get re-centered. I feel like we've done a decent job of embracing the European life while in Girona, but at the end of the day we are Americans. It’s awesome to spend a couple months at the end of the year in the USA, as well as sporadic weeks throughout the season.

espnW: Now that you’ve made it to the pro ranks, what are your goals in cycling? And, life off the bike?

JB: My goal is to seek as high a level as I can train, and to push myself to in cycling. Because the salaries are so low in women's cycling, I think most women race because they purely love the sport. We are certainly not setting ourselves up to be millionaires. I eventually want to have a profession that will relate to my graduate work in invasive forest insects. I also may eventually go back to graduate school and get a Ph.D. in ichthyology.

espnW: Between lengthy races like the three-week Tour de France and the shorter yet clustered calendar of both North American and European events, how much time to you get to spend together during the race season? How do you make it work during the most hectic times of your calendar?

JB: Because travel schedules force us be apart for long periods of time -- one stretch we didn't see each other for three months -- we are better about really enjoying and treasuring our time together because it is so rare. We've learned that when we call each other, we put our full attention to the conversation. We've also learned which online business services have the lowest rate in country-to-country internet phone calls, and which cell phone providers have the best international rates. It also helps that we are both trusting and self-sufficient people.

BB: Each season is different and brings a new schedule and new set of challenges. I think the most difficult part of it is the lack of certainty with my schedule. No matter what is planned or scheduled, things change and we have to adapt. The offseason gets shorter every year but still gives us a couple months at the end of the year to be together for a nice block. Once the season starts we still spend quite a bit of time with each other, but with all the racing and traveling it usually turns into a week or two together, followed by a week or two apart.

espnW: What's the best part about having a spouse who also races?

JB: Brent has been racing bikes at a high level for much of his life, and has a wealth of knowledge I can draw from. He understands the sport from a physiological and managerial perspective, and I always make him write my bios. He can also rip up a downhill on a mountain bike, an attribute I find very attractive.

BB: It helps us understand and relate to each other on another level. The joy of success, the agony of defeat, the challenges of balancing training with the rest of life's hurdles. Most important, being able to share the beauty of just riding a bike with the person in my life who matters most. We live in beautiful corners of the world and to have the chance to share the spectacular experiences of the roads and trails with each other is something that I really treasure and enjoy.

espnW: And the more challenging parts of a dual pro cycling marriage?

JB: We've been consumed lately with trying to get a Spanish residency visa. Americans are only allowed to stay in the Schengen Area, which includes Spain, for 90 days in a 180-day period. In the past, cyclists have not had issues overstaying the 90-day period, but in the past year it seems that enforcement has tightened. Because most, if not all, professional cyclists are independent contractors, the teams are not required to help with visas. That leaves it up to the individual to apply for sporting or non-lucrative visas on their own. It's very difficult, frustrating and expensive, and inspires confidence in neither the U.S. nor Spanish federal government, nor the profession of immigration law.

espnW: What kind of New Year's resolutions do professional cyclists make?

JB: While I can't speak for all professional cyclists, we don't make New Year's resolutions. We mostly enjoy our vices.

Kathryn Bertine is an elite cyclist and the author of two sports memoirs, As Good As Gold (ESPN) and All the Sundays Yet to Come (Little, Brown). She can be reached through her site www.kathrynbertine.com.

You can read the original article here: http://www.espn.com/espnw/athletes-life/article/8832525/riding-pros-cyclists-jamie-brent-bookwalter-navigate-twists-turns-together