The VeloNews Fast Talk podcast is your source for the best advice and most interesting insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. We speak with pro rider Brent Bookwalter (BMC) about how he fits weight lifting into his busy travel schedule.
You can read the full story here: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/sports/2017/10/25/brent-bookwalter-george-hincapie-ride-wnc-bookwalter-binge-gran-fondo/798525001/
BLACK MOUNTAIN – On this side of the pond, and in this corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo might be the closest we get to rubbing elbows with bicycling greats who grace the Tour de France.
The fourth annual Binge, Oct. 28, brings some of cycling’s heavyweights, including now-retired 17-time Tour de France veteran George Hincapie, of Greenville, South Carolina; Michael Sayers, team director of BMC Racing in the Tour and USA National team director during the last two Olympics; and Asheville pros Jonny Clarke with Team UnitedHealthcare and John Murphy with Team Holowesko|Citadel p/b Hincapie Sportswear.
A slew of others will include Larry Warbasse, reigning U.S. National Road Race champion; Thomas Revard, reigning U23 criterium champion; pro riders Mary Zider and Andrea Smith; with Colavita Admin, Ty Magner and TJ Eisenhart.
And of course, Brent Bookwalter. The Asheville resident, four-time Tour de France veteran with BMC Racing and 2016 Rio Summer Games Olympian will ride in the event he started with his wife, Jamie Bookwalter, also a former professional cyclist.
“It's a relaxed ride, but it’s still studded with racing on timed segments of tough climbs that provide an epic challenge to all,” Jamie Bookwalter said.
The Binge is “a party on two wheels," including three routes that pass through scenic fall foliage on backroads of Buncombe, Henderson and McDowell counties.
All rides start and end at Pisgah Brewing Co. in Black Mountain:
- The Gran: 83 miles with 7,400 feet of climbing
- Medio: 62 miles with 5,500 feet of climbing
- Piccolo: 29 miles with 2,500 feet of climbing
“This is an unusual opportunity to ride alongside female and male pro cyclists as they celebrate the end of their season racing all over the world and the country,” Bookwalter said.
Along with Brent, the pros ride all three routes, mingling with other riders until the timed sections, where brave cycling souls can try to catch them. The ride, however, is open to cyclists of all abilities.
Jamie Bookwalter said the ride has continued to grow each year, and this year registration includes cyclists from 23 states.
UPDATE: TUNE UP IS SOLD OUT For the second year, the Bookwalters will hold the Binge Tune-Up, a more intimate ride led by the couple on the morning of Oct. 27, followed by lunch at the Native Kitchen in Swannanoa. The Tune-Up is sold out, but folks can still join the couple for lunch.
Volunteers are still needed, however, for the Gran Fondo, who will receive a T-shirt, burrito from Mamacitas, and a beer if they are 21 or older.
The Bookwalters both are dedicated to protecting the environment and open spaces. The Binge and the Binge Tune-Up are fundraisers for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, an Asheville nonprofit land trust that works to protect environmentally important lands across Western North Carolina.
“We’re proud of the way the Asheville region has embraced this event, with more than 100 volunteers and more than 12 government agencies working together to make this event safe and fun,” Jamie Bookwalter said.
“Our community welcomes participants and pros from all over the U.S. traveling here to enjoy some of the most beautiful roads in the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
Each ride will include marked courses, follow vehicles, aid stations, and timed segments for those who wish to compete against the professionals. The Binge after-party will include food from Mamacita's, a raffle and door prizes.
Want to ride?
For maps, registration and more, visit www.bookwalterbinge.com.
You can read the full story here: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/bookwalter-the-usa-doesnt-have-a-sagan-or-van-avermaet/
The six US riders who will line up for the UCI Road World Championships road race on Sunday, September 24, have realistic expectations for their potential results on the lumpy, Classics-like course in Bergen, Norway.
Over the past five years, the best USA Cycling elite men's result has been Alex Howes' 12th place in Richmond in 2015. Before that, Brent Bookwalter's 25th place in 2014 and Howes' 31st in 2013 were the most recent top results for Americans. Tyler Farrar's 10th place in 2011 is the best US result since Chris Horner pulled off an eighth-place finish in 2004. Last year on a windswept course in Doha, Qatar, Taylor Phinney managed 42nd place, while Robin Carpenter came in 53rd, the last finisher ahead of a long list of DNFs.
Given that history, expectations for the USA Cycling team in Bergen are not through the roof, but Bookwalter, 33, will once again guide a solid group that also includes his BMC teammates Joey Rosskopf and Tejay van Garderen, Cannondale-Drapac's Nate Brown and Alex Howes, and Trek-Segafredo's Kiel Reijnen.
"I'm definitely proud to be selected again," said Bookwalter, who spoke to Cyclingnews by phone from Spain, where he is recovering from a crash in the Tour of Britain in which he collided with a car parked along the course. "I never take selection for Worlds for granted, especially these days with quite a few Americans in the WorldTour. We may not have the Peter Sagan superstar in the US right now, but we have a lot of good, talented, well-rounded guys."
This year's 267.5km route in Norway actually starts in Kollsnes for a short ride to the 19.1km Bergen circuit, which includes three punchy climbs on each of the 12 laps. Unlike Doha's relatively flat parcours, the Bergen course is a lot more like Richmond's challenging route. The three climbs come close together, with the 700-metre Løbergsveien reaching gradients of 5 percent. Just a few kilometres later the peloton will tackle another 1km climb at 4.8 per cent. A flat kilometre leads to the bottom of Salmon Hill, which averages 6.4 percent gradient for 1.5km. A technical descent into Bergen leaves another 8.1km to the line, the last 2.7 of which are flat.
"I haven't seen the course firsthand, but profile-wise there's a lot of accumulated climbing, and technical-wise it's similar to Richmond," Bookwalter said. "I think the last kilometre at Richmond, from what I understand, is more demanding than the one in Bergen, which will definitely play in. I anticipate more of a kind of Richmond outcome without Sagan going away, but with him, who knows. He's shown that anything is possible. But on paper it looks to be a reduced bunch sprint."
That kind of course could once again favour Howes, who recently won stages at the Colorado Classic and tour of Alberta, or Reijnen, who has been doing the yeoman's work of a domestique in his second season with Trek-Segafredo. The competition in Bergen, however, will obviously be top notch, and the US riders have to be realistic about what they can accomplish there.
"Well, again, we don't have a Sagan or a Van Avermaet or a Boasson Hagen, who looks to be flying right now, but I think most of us have also been to Worlds at this point, and Alex and myself have done the rides and slotted into the top-20, top-15 result, so obviously we are capable of that," Bookwalter said. "But I'd like to see us play a little more active role in the race, maybe gamble a little more and not be worried about finishing all the guys or finishing in the top 20, but just play a little more active and present role in the race."
As Bookwalter implied, the best option for the US riders could be to try and shake up the race before the finish, but that's a tall order with many bigger, more powerful teams hoping to line things up for their designated sprinters.
"That's always a long shot because it's so long," Bookwalter said. "You know, there's not too many times during the year or in your career that you ever race that long. It's not mountainous, but I think the total climbing metres are still comparable to an all-mountain stage in a GrandTour.
"It's demanding, and then as everyone is talking about, the weather will be pretty influential, cold and likely wet," he said. "It'll be a battle of attrition, and I think a battle of keeping the head and the body in the game until those last moments."
Although they may be outgunned by the bigger names and bigger teams, Bookwalter said the US squad will take a lot of motivation into the race, if for no other reason than to represent the country's colours well and be a factor in the race. Although World Championships as of late have been somewhat predictable, it's still cycling, and anything can happen.
"I've got two BMC teammates there and three other guys who I haven't been on a trade team with in the past, but I have definitely raced with them, maybe not Nate, but Kiel and Alex with the national team," Bookwalter said.
"They're good guys, guys that I live in Girona with and train with, like-minded guys who are red-white-and-blue-hearted American dudes who are all equally passionate about it. There's no one who's on the team by just sort of default or filling a spot. I think everyone is really passionate and motivated."
USA Cycling Elite men's roster for World Championships road race: Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing), Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Drapac), Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac), Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo), Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing), Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).
You can read the full story and watch the crash video here: http://www.express.co.uk/sport/othersport/851702/Tour-of-Britain-crash-cycling-Brent-Bookwalter-collision-video-Retford-disabled-bay
Bookwalter needed stitches and suffered a concussion during stage four of the Tour of Britain yesterday after the peloton crashed into a parked car.
The BMC Racing rider was caught up in a pile-up in the Nottinghamshire town of Retford after the riders swung round into the car which was parked in a disabled bay.
And Bookwalter was forced to pull out of the race, but claimed on Instagram that the whole crash could have been avoided.
“I’m very disappointed to abandon the race, especially from an incident that likely could have been avoided with more pro active safety measures,” Bookwalter said.
“Thank you also to the incredible race medical crew (best I've experienced in a race) and [BMC Racing] for taking such good care of me.
“They made a scary and confusing experience easier to handle from the race doctor all the way to the paramedics who took me to the hospital.”
The Tour of Britain meanwhile say they are conducting an investigation into how the crash unfolded.
“We operate a rolling road closure and cannot remove every parked vehicle on the race route, however we work with residents, communities and local authorities ahead of the event to ensure as safe and clear a passage for the race as possible,” a statement said.
“In this instance the car that was parked in a disabled parking bay wasn’t able to be moved before the arrival of the race, and as per our procedures was flagged by one of our motorcycle marshals to alert riders to an obstacle in the road."
You can read the full story with Brent here: http://www.velonews.com/2017/09/news/usa-cycling-names-elite-mens-2017-worlds-squad_447807
On Saturday USA Cycling announced the six-man squad for the elite men’s road race at the 2017 UCI World Championships in Bergen, Norway. The riders are Brent Bookwalter, Joey Rosskopf and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), Nate Brown and Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac), and Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo). Rosskopf, the 2017 U.S. national time trial champion, and van Garderen will also compete in the individual time trial.
“I always relish the chance to race with Team USA and I’m honored to be lining up with a great group of guys, many of whom I’ve gotten to know well over the years and always wish I could race with them more,” Bookwalter told VeloNews. “We may not have a flashy medal favorite but we will be fighting with that team USA spirit and I’m sure we will leave our mark on the race.”
The entire team is made up of riders from the WorldTour and represent all three American-based WorldTour teams (Cannondale-Drapac, Trek-Segafredo, and BMC Racing).
“I am excited about this team,” said USA Cycling VP of High Performance, Jim Miller. “We have six motivated and committed guys, and we aren’t traveling to Norway to sit in the peloton.”
There is definitely no lack of strength among the squad. Van Garderen won a stage of the Giro d’Italia back in May and is slated to finish 10th overall at the Vuelta a España. Brown wore the polka-dot jersey at the Tour de France and Howes recently won a stage of the Tour of Alberta.
Bergen presents a course suitable to the strengths of the squad with a tough climb midway through the circuit, but a flat run-in to the finish. Many expect the race to come down to a reduced bunch sprint. Howes, Bookwalter, and Reijnen are all known to pack a quick finish.
“I haven’t had a chance to ride the course in person, but from what I have read and heard from others it sounds like a reduced field sprint after a short climb,” Reijnen told VeloNews. “So if it were a Cat. 3 race I would be practicing my victory salute already. That being said this is the world championships and the course probably suits a 100 guys who are all chomping at the bit. Having a course like this doesn’t hurt my chances though that’s for sure.
“In the past few years we have had guys up there in the mix at the finish, in the top 20. Which, when you think of the caliber of racers present, isn’t something to scoff at. But we have also been there and done that. I would like to see the team play a more creative roll in the race, roll the dice and see what happens. I don’t call the shots though, I just pedal hard. We have a great group of guys that all are willing to die on a sword for each other so I’m sure we will make a dent in the race. Shake ‘n bake.”
Howes said on his selection, “I couldn’t be more excited about my call up for Worlds. Representing the U.S.A. is always an honor and a privilege. This year looks like a real race for the hard men. The climbing on the circuit might not look like much but with the race being 276km long and with the icy rain, the final will be an absolute brawl. Last time I raced over 260km in foul weather was 2016 Liege and I finished with the hitters. Right now the legs are good so I hope to be up there again.”
The elite women’s, U23 men’s and women’s, and junior men’s and women’s squads had been previously announced. Racing starts Sunday, September 17 with the team time trial. The elite time trials will be September 20 and 21 for men and women, respectively. The women’s road race will run Saturday, September 23, with the men closing out the week on Sunday.
Elite men’s team
Brent Bookwalter (Asheville, NC/BMC Racing Team)
Nate Brown (Covington, TN/Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling)
Alex Howes (Boulder, CO/Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling)
Kiel Reijnen (Bainbridge Island, WA/Trek-Segafredo)
Joey Rosskopf (Decatur, GA/BMC Racing Team)
Tejay Van Garderen (Aspen, CO/BMC Racing Team)
You can read the full story with Brent here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865685923/Banner-day-for-BMC-as-Brent-Bookwalter-claims-Tour-of-Utah-Stage-2.html
SNOWBASIN — With 800 meters remaining in Tuesday’s Brigham City to Snowbasin Tour of Utah cycling race, Team Elevate’s James Piccoli launched an uphill sprint for the finish. With the peloton long having been blown up by the final Category 2 climb of the day, and only a handful of riders remaining with the lead group, BMC rider Brent Bookwalter gave chase.
Bookwalter used the surge of Holowesko Citadel rider Robin Carpenter to make up the gap and eventually pass Piccoli in the final 50 meters of Tuesday’s Stage 2 event. Bookwalter edged Rally Cycling’s Sepp Kuss, who earned the yellow jersey (overall leader) for second in the stage, while Piccoli held on for third.
“Robin Carpenter did a really big dig and I figured if I could just hold his wheel and come off it and push to the line I’d have a shot,” Bookwalter said. “I’ve been a close second in a lot of races in the last 12-24 months, so I really wanted it.”
While Bookwalter got the stage win, it was his BMC racing team that did a lot of work on Tuesday’s stage. BMC’s Joey Rosskopf got into the break about an hour into Tuesday’s race and stayed out front until the final 10 miles. Bookwalter called Rosskopf an animal during Tuesday’s press conference and said having teammates around him all day helped his confidence.
“The final climb my teammates were putting pressure on me and I was feeling pretty good,” Bookwalter said. “I looked around and had several guys with me so I got more confident from that. At the end it was about picking the right moment.”
Trailing Bookwalter to the line was the 22-year-old Kuss, who took the overall race lead after a good stint of training heading into this year's tour.
“I didn’t exactly imagine it, it’s always a hope, but I trained super hard for this race,” Kuss said. “When you prepare for a race, you kind of envision it, but I didn’t expect to be in this position today. It’s a bit of a surprise.”
Kuss’ teammate, Adam de Vos, attacked initially up the final climb with just over four miles remaining. While a splintered chase pack eventually tracked de Vos down, Kuss and Rally Cycling had plenty of firepower up front with Canadian Rob Britton also in the mix on the final climb.
“Today is a punchier finish, so we had it in plan and of course Rob isn’t going to lose time on a stage like this,” Kuss said “We have a really good one-two dynamic, and tomorrow’s time trial should be a good one for Rob.”
For Piccoli, who was just called up to the Elevate team, the third-place finish and aggressive riding has him looking forward to the rest of the tour.
“Tomorrow’s time trial will be an all-out effort, no hiding, whoever has the legs is going to win,” Piccoli said.
It’s been a tough year for the Axeon Hagens Berman team. On Monday, the team rode in memory of teammate Chad Young, who died after a crash in New Mexico. Tuesday was a day to remember Axeon Hagens Berman press officer Sean Weide, who died this year at the age of 49.
On Tuesday, as riders checked in prior to the Brigham City-to-Snowbasin stage, Weide’s five daughters, who traveled from Omaha, Nebraska, were honored by the team and by the Tour of Utah. Tour of Utah officials were wearing black YD shirts to remember Weide, who always told people if they couldn’t pronounce his name to just say YD.
Axeon got a tremendous ride Tuesday from Neilson Powless, who vaulted into the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey.
“I was just trying to find my legs and see where I'm at,” he said. “I think I’ve got a good idea, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week, although it will be pretty tough to rip that yellow jersey from Sepp.”
After a six-year absence, the Tour of Utah added an individual time trial (race against the clock) to the rotation. Wednesday’s Stage 3 time trial starts at 7,300 feet near the Donut Falls Trailhead Parking at Reynolds Gulch to Brighton Ski Resort. The course is only 5.6 miles long but features a steady dose of climbing with an average gradient of 5.5 percent.
You can read the full story with Brent here: https://www.bicycling.com/racing/bookwalter-wins-first-mountaintop-finish-in-stage-2-of-tour-of-utah-2017
Stage 2 ended with a dramatic mountaintop finish as the BMC team surged in the final meters of the climb to Snowbasin Resort leading Brent Bookwalter to the win. Sepp Kuss of Rally Cycling finished second with the same time as Bookwalter giving him the overall lead.
In the general classification, Bookwalter moved to second overall with Piccoli in third. After winning stage 1 Ty Magner dropped to 52nd falling more than 17 minutes off the lead.
The attacks began right from the start as riders climbed Sardine Canyon with BMC's Joey Rosskopf taking the first KOM.
A breakaway formed 28 miles into the stage initiated by Rosskopf, the reigning U.S. pro time trial champion. Three riders reached a gap of five minutes and ten seconds before they were reeled in on the second KOM of the day at the North Ogden Divide.
The field was down to forty riders as they all approached the final climb to the finish line.
“It was pretty stop and go I think. It wasn't a crazy steep uphill finish, it was a bit more tactical so it was a bit more explosive." said Neilson Powless of Axeon Hagens Berman.
Jacob Rathe of Jelly Belly Cycling p/b Maxxis retained the Utah Office of Tourism KOM jersey and De Vos was awarded the most aggressive rider jersey.
Stage 3 brings an individual time trial that may favor riders who excel at high altitudes. “It could be the most decisive day of the race,” said Bookwalter of Stage 3.
You can read the full story with Brent here: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/bookwalter-de-marchi-wyss-and-schar-sign-contract-extensions-with-bmc-racing/
BMC Racing have announced that four riders have signed contract extensions for the coming season with Brent Bookwalter, Alessandro De Marchi, Michael Schär and Danilo Wyss all putting pen to paper. The team confirmed earlier this month that Richie Porte had signed a new deal with the team.
While the squad have always been unwilling to divulge the length or terms of rider contracts, Cyclingnews understands that all deals signed in 2017 cover only the 2018 season.
"In Brent Bookwalter and Danilo Wyss, we have 20 years of combined experience at BMC Racing Team," Jim Ochowicz said in a statement from the team.
“Both riders have signed on for their eleventh year with the team and I think that speaks for itself. Brent consistently proves himself in both a leader and support capacity and Danilo is a rider that is always there to support our leaders but will make the most of an opportunity when it comes his way. To have riders with this level of racing experience in the team is invaluable and I look forward to seeing Brent and Danilo continue to develop with us," Ochowicz explained.
"Michael Schär is a clear road captain within BMC Racing Team. No matter what the race situation is, we trust in Michael's ability to support the team leaders, whether it is at the Classics or a stage race, so we are very happy to see Michael extend his contract. In his three years with BMC Racing Team, Alessandro De Marchi has delivered some excellent results, including Grand Tour stage wins, as well as being a key support rider for our Grand Tour leaders, so Alessandro is a great asset to our team."
Bookwalter joined the team in 2008, when they were ranked with the Pro Continental division of the sport. He, like Wyss, has been a constant presence throughout the team's WorldTour years and has developed into one of the most solid domestiques in the peloton. The American finished fourth in this year's Tour of California.
"When I reflect back on the past 10 years and ahead to 2018, the people who make up the BMC Racing Team are what made it an easy decision to return for my 11th season. I've relished the chances to grow out of a pure worker roll and have the opportunity to also race for personal results, leading the team when the opportunity arises," Bookwalter said.
“I know I have greater potential when it comes to this role within the team and am confident I have more to give. I've put myself in the position to win on several occasions this season, so I am motivated to translate these opportunities into victories for myself and the team."
On Monday BMC Racing confirmed that they would wind down their U23 programme at the conclusion of this season.
You can read the full story with Brent here: http://www.mlive.com/sports/2017/05/cycling_great_brent_bookwalter.html
Cyclist Brent Bookwalter, fresh off a fourth-place finish at the Amgen Tour of California, is spending a couple of days back in Rockford, in the home he grew up, and enjoying some nostalgia.
"I'm just trying to catch up with family and friends and do and see as much as I can," said the 33-year-old, a 2002 Rockford High School graduate.
Bookwalter is in town to speak at Tuesday's MSU Gran Fondo Five kickoff event. The event is 6-8 p.m. at L3vel at The Bob at 20 Monroe Center.
A four- time Tour de France rider and a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, Bookwalter was last in West Michigan briefly for Thanksgiving, but hasn't been able to visit old friends or haunts in a few years. This is the chance, as he made the trip solo following the week-long Tour of California.
"It still feels familiar and still feels like home and in some ways I appreciate more than when I was younger and in high school here," Bookwalter said. "Back then, as a young rider, I craved the mountains and challenges. Now, I have a different perspective after traveling and competing all around the world to see what we have here - which is a lot."
The visit also made good timing for the question about his future. After 12 years as a rider on the professional circuit - and dating back even further to his days as a mountain biker in West Michigan - how long does Bookwalter want to continue, or think he can continue?
"I love riding my bike as much as ever and I think that keeps me going - the love and passion - to push my body," he said. "I'm inspired by the competition, too. But the races are dangerous, there's a lot of pressure and a lot of sacrifice to be competing at this level. And I still do enjoy it.
"But it's really a factor of staying healthy, staying safe and continuing on a team environment where I'm fulfilled as much as a person as an athlete - and I am still ... I definitely feel I have a few more good years in me, but sort of need the help of other variables lining up right, too."
This season, Bookwalter, a member of the BMC Racing Team since 2008, also had a fourth at the Tour of Yorkshire and won the time trial stage at Volta a Catalunya in Spain.
Last year, he was the only American rider to compete in the Tour de France (he finished 117th) and the Olympics (16th in the road race and 23rd in the time trials.
Bookwalter became a mountain biking star as a teen in Michigan, became a regular on the pro circuit in 2005 and won the U.S. national Under-23 time trial championship in 2006.
The 2010 Giro d'Italia was Bookwalter's coming out party as a pro. He never had a top 10 finish and, starting 144th out of 198 cyclists, Bookwalter came in second in the opening-day individual time trial.
Since, aside from the Tour de France, Bookwalter has emerged as a successful, steady figure in the world of cycling.
The passion, he said, is there. But there is also the risk that comes over the years - even if it is put aside during competition.
"I think as I get older in my career and seeing the value of other races and other opportunities that might be less known but provide a chance to perform more for myself or with the support of the team," he said. "That is gratifying in a different way."
On Tuesday, Bookwalter will speak about his career before fundraisers who have raised at least $50 for skin cancer awareness ahead of the June 24 event in Grand Rapids.
"I just wanted to find a way to work it out that I could at least be here and help them with the event," he said. "What they are doing for cancer research with MSU is incredible and I'm happy to spread the awareness and help the (cycling) community as well."
You can read the full story with Brent here: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/bookwalter-in-the-hunt-for-overall-tour-of-california-podium
To succeed on BMC Racing, Brent Bookwalter has had to create opportunity on a team filled with stars. His work has paid off with a successful spring campaign, and Bookwalter now sits in sixth place overall, 48 seconds out of the lead at the Amgen Tour of California. Bookwalter hopes to continue his opportunistic streak in the coming stages.
"I had some good opportunity in the spring, trying to find those moments when I can step out of the team worker role, which on this team isn't easy," Bookwalter said before the start of stage 3. "I had a couple of those but didn't get a win and was close."
Bookwalter's near misses this spring include a 2nd place stage finish at the Tour of the Alps and 4th in the GC at the Tour de Yorkshire. He finished sixth in Monday's climbing stage, 37 seconds down on the lead group. With more options to moved up in the GC, including Thursday's climb up Mt. Baldy and Friday's time trial, Bookwalter is willing to bide his time before making a move for the yellow jersey.
"I'm a little farther behind than I would like to be to those guys at this point," Bookwalter said. "I'm in the hunt and looking for every moment I can coming ahead."
Bookwalter was third in last year's Amgen Tour of California, with strong performances in the climbing stage up Gibraltar Road (4th place) and in the Folsom time trial (5th place.) Leading up to this year's race he spent time doing course recon and simplifying his preparation.
"I feel strong. I was up in Big Bear training and seeing the course," Bookwalter said. "We've known all along that will be important, and I think it still will be.
"I haven't done [the wind tunnel] in a couple of years. I did it pretty heavy a few years ago and have tried to go back to the basics the last couple of years and just ride the bike."
Bookwalter also sits on the board of the Association of North American Professional Road Cyclists (ANAPRC), which helps advocate for professional cyclists on issues like the UCI's Extreme Weather Protocol. Toms Skujins' crash was top of mind Tuesday morning, and Bookwalter discussed the challenge of weighing a cyclist's desire to get back in a race against keeping the peloton, and the individual, safe.
"It's tough because it's such a fine balance," Bookwalter said. "You are ultimately deciding if you are going to pull a guy out of the race or off his bike. In those moments, when we crash, and you are OK to get back up, every second is really important. There is an urgency, and the race doesn't wait for you.
"That said, there has to be something in place to prevent guys from getting back on and hurting themselves and other guys in the race."
Bookwalter finished safely in the chase group in Wednesday's 159km stage from Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita. With Bookwalter and Sammy Sanchez both in the top 20, BMC will have multiple cards to play in the time trial and Mt. Baldy. Heading into the final stages of the race, Bookwalter is just happy to be in the game.
You can read the full story with Brent here: http://www.dailynews.com/2017/05/12/brent-bookwalter-primed-for-amgen-tour-of-california/
Brent Bookwalter has paid his dues.
He is in his 10th year with BMC Racing Team and is finally ready to challenge the world’s top cyclists.
“Throughout my career, more often than not, I’ve been a team worker and sacrificed for team results,” he said. “I have been happy and proud to be able to do that.
“Racing the Amgen Tour of California, the Tour (de France) and the Giro (d’Italia), I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of successful leaders. I learned a lot from them. I’ve been taking a lot of mental notes over the years. And although I still relish a role of working for others, I can now also see myself as a closer.”
Bookwalter, 33, will be competing in his fifth Amgen Tour of California, which begins Sunday in Sacramento. The seven-day race comes to Southern California on Wednesday and concludes May 20 in downtown Pasadena.
Last year, the American finished a career-best third in the race.
“I’ve really grown with the team and the team has grown with me,” he said. “When I came to the team 10 years ago, we were just growing and I was not ready for (Grand Tour events). It’s been nice to grow together and see the changes over the years. Now, we’re among the tops in our sport and competing against the best riders in the world.”
BMC, which has been one of the staples of the Amgen Tour, won the ATOC team title last year, the second time the American-owned team has won the crown. Bookwalter’s teammate, Rohan Dennis, finished second to winner Julian Alaphillipe of France. Bookwalter, who lives in Asheville, North Carolina, when not in Europe, finished 43 seconds behind Alaphillipe.
His previous best finish in the event was 15th in 2011. He competed in the Giro d’Italia in 2014 and 2015, which runs concurrently with the ATOC.