With so many important subjects swirling around at the Cafe of late, Gavia and I decided we needed to get serious. Action was needed, to answer what was previously considered unanswerable. What is the meaning of life? Must it always rain when I ride? Where is that squeaking sound coming from? And for the love of god... where is Sep Vanmarcke riding next year??
Well, for one of these questions at least, we knew what to do. We got on the phone with Jonathan Vaughters, head honcho at Team Garmin-Cervélo. Here is what transpired:
PdC: So I know that your roster will be announced next week. Do I have to wait til then to see if Sep Vanmarcke is on it?
JV: [Laughs for a bit] No! Not really -- I talked to him at camp in the Caymans. No, Sep is on our team. I can guarantee. I read that the other day, I thought that was kind of funny, ‘is he on Cofidis?’ I don’t actually know where that other stuff even comes from. But no, he’s definitely on our team.
PdC: It was that kid on Cofidis... blanking on the name...
JV: Oh, Jens Keukeleire!
PdC: Yeah, Jens Keukeleire, he said ‘yeah, me and my teammate Sep are going out for a ride,’ I was like "what?"
JV: Yeah, he’s riding with us. He’s a good kid, man, he’s a freak of nature.
PdC: Yeah, I saw him in GW this year, I didn't know who he was at first but by the end of the day I think a lot of us learned his name.
JV: Yeah, it looked like he was going to win the damn thing til he cramped up.
PdC: Do you have a plan for him mapped out already for next year? Obviously it’ll involve the classics?
JV: Yeah, next year will definitely be a bit of an apprenticeship for him. He’ll be on a team with a lot of guys who are pretty good at riding classics. But long term, I think he has a pretty big future, maybe a huge future. I was interested in him going all the way back to April or May of last year. He’s someone who predates our super-focus on cobbles. And if you look at him, go to Youtube and watch him in GP Wallonie, going up to the finish. He’s duking it out with Cadel and Ricardo Ricco, so he can go up hills pretty well too.
And so forth. What transpired was a pretty wide-ranging interview, covering subjects such as the Mapei-like team he assembled, the yearly challenges of running a great anti-doping regime, more thoughts on his op-ed subject regarding long-term arrangements with the Tour, the women's team, and of course the Tour de France. Rather than cramming all that into one post, we plan to roll out segments of the interview over the next two weeks, organized by subject.
Oh, and the kicker: he's been perusing the Cafe "for years." He might even have kept a list of all the people who called his sideburns "evil."
As to that the GP de Wallonie -- fun stuff. Vanmarcke turned himself inside out chasing these guys several kg lighter than him. Impressive:
GP de Wallonie 2010 - Final kilometers (via worldcyclingchannel2)
And yes, I did temporarily blank on Jens Keukeleire's name. Sensory overload. Fortunately Gav took over while my medulla oblongata rebooted.