AKA in case you missed any of them....
I have to admit, this is as much about keeping them all in one place, but I really wanted an excuse to celebrate how fabulous the Café is! It's no surprise that riders say "yes" to coming and chatting, especially after we scientifically proved that interacting with the Café boosts performance... and this year at least 4 rainbow-jersey wearers spoke to us, which is awesome, as well as a whole host of other interesting riders! Gavia is the greatest for interviewing and arranging things for us.... Can this be beaten in 2011?
Starting in January, Gavia interviewed Swedish superstar Emma Johansson, about her move from skiing to riding, being a star in a small team, racing the big teams of HTC and Cervélo, and her favourite kinds of racing...
Every rider has a race of dreams. For Emma Johansson, it’s the Ronde van Vlaanderen. "I love the Ronde van Vlaanderen," she said. Her passion for the race rang clear. During the racing season, she lives in Belgium between Gent and Oudenaarde, not much more than 5 kilometers from the start of the Ronde. Living in Belgium means she has "lots of supporters" out in force for the Ronde which only adds to the magic of the day.
In February, American cyclo-cross rider Amy Dombroski told Gav all about the 2009 'Cross World Champs in Tabor, on how she combined riding 'Cross and mountain bike, and racing in both Europe and the USA.
"At ‘cross races in the United States, most of the fans ride bikes, but in Belgium and the Netherlands, everyone comes out. "Guys are smoking cigars in your face, they have giant beer bellies. They don’t ride bikes at all," she said of the crowds. "It’s exhilarating!"
Meredith Miller, the 2009/10 USA Champion was next up in March, talking to Gav about how her first years in cycling had been, and the enjoyment she gets from supporting her team-mates, as well as racing for herself
"When I’ve had a role in the success, I want to see my team-mates win. It is so rewarding," she said, enthusiasm clear in her voice. "If you have too many people going for the win, you end up with nothing," she said of teamwork. Miller is happy to take her chances when they come, but it is clear she enjoys the hard work of supporting her team-mates.
In April, Gav interviewed Italian Noemi Cantele, silver medallist in the 2009 World Championships ITT and bronze medallist in the Road Race, all about her love for cobbles, and including some fun predictions for the 2010 Road World Champs, which turned out to be, well, completely right, given that Cantele was a major factor in supporting team-mate Giorgia Bronzini to win the road race.
"We can do really well," Cantele said of the Australian course, which recent reports have suggested is not entirely for sprinters.... "The team can do a big thing, I think for this, we are really good," she explained. Cantele is confident that she will represent Italy in Melbourne, but "you have to always prove your shape when you get closer." "I will be perfect!" she promised.
In October, Gav followed this interview up with Cantele, looking back on how the season had gone, and how the Worlds had felt - and looking forward to 2011
Next Gav interviewed Emma Pooley in May, right after she won La Flèche Wallonne, and just before she went on to win, well, everything she rode in the next month. Oh, Emma Pooley, so self-deprecating, so funny!
"At first, no one knew who I was," which helped her sneak up the road. Now, of course, it’s more difficult for Pooley to escape. But still, "you have to try something, there’s nothing to lose," she explained of her mentality... If the move doesn’t work out, "at least you get some good training."
In August everyone got the chance to interview HTC's top sprinter, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, when she came along to livechat with us. She was very funny, and answered everything, including the "wax or shave" question.....
In September Gav interviewed Stefan Wyman, the DS of UK-based Horizon Fitness, on different aspects of running a women's cycling team. Stef went on to write us occasional articles on the team - check them out, they're all interesting and fun, and Stef popped up in the comments to answer any questions we had, which made it even better!
September was also the first time Australian cyclist Miffy Galloway wrote a blog for us - you can read that one, on her experiences at the World Championships, and the others, here. Miffy writes very well on the best and the worst of combining training, racing, working, studying & fitting in real life all at the same time, along with insights into the cycling scene in Australia (including the joys of dodging magpies...)
In October there was a flurry of activity, starting with one of my moments of the year, when I got to meet and interview multiple Paralympian & Para-Cycling World Champion, Sarah Storey, including her transition from swimming to cycling, what she'd do if in charge of the UCI and IOC, how she found riding in the elite women's peloton this year, and the time she won a Para-Cycling track gold in the IP, whilst riding with a broken collarbone... All this and a lot more!
There are these male club cyclists that assume they're better than any elite woman. They assume they'll beat us, they just don't see us as "elite" like the men are, so it's good they get to see that they can't beat us. And I'm a Paralympian AND a woman, so that's even worse!" Her grin is huge, and I can picture her rubbing it in in all sorts of ways, enjoying every minute of it
At the same time, Gav was interviewing American racer Katheryn Curi Mattis, where she got the scoop that Curi Mattis was retiring before any of the cycling media did. They spoke about Curi Mattis' cycling career, good memories, why she was retiring, and her 77km breakaway attempt in the Road World Championships
"I have this feeling of euphoria about my career," she explained to me in a phone interview on Friday. "I’m afraid that if I do another year, I’ll lose this feeling,"
Marijn de Vries told us all about how she came into cycling in her 30s, and how her career has run so far. She has one of the best stories about how she came into cycling - especially as she'd worked as a professional journalist and editor in Dutch tv and radio, so suddenly came into the sports life from a relatively "normal" background - and she tells all her stories very well!
Cycling is such a big big adventure for me, I'm thrilled I can do this, every day, learning and learning. I don't see my 'work' (don't see it as work at all) on a bike as work for others - it's part of the good result of my team, and I'm happy to contribute to that, I'm growing as a cyclist by doing that
Helen Wyman added further proof to the theory that Podium Café = wins - the Cyclocross rider talked about how she'd got into 'Cross, what she loves about it, which skills she'd steal from other riders, and a lot more
The Power of the Café kicked in, and she won the iconic Koppenbergcross - and she not only sent us a special photo of her holding her cobble trophy, she also drew us a "crayon" drawing of what the race was like. Is there anything better?
I'd punctured just coming off of the cobbles section, but to be fair, I think it worked to my advantage, as I had the most grip possible for that first little descent! Although I wouldn't recommend running your tubs at 0 bar too often! It was definitely a strength and fitness cross yesterday, and the first proper mud race we have had in a good couple of years
In November, Gav interviewed 2008 World TT Champion Amber Neben, who talked about her fight with cancer, her doping suspension, her many accidents, and the problem of what happens when Skyter collapsed too late to get a team place for the 2010 season.... but also the positives, including her successes, and her hopes for her 2011 season with super-team HTC
"It’s adversity. You can embrace it or you can run from it," said Neben. "You stand firm, and focus on moving forward."
Australian Vicki Whitelaw spoke to me from her tiny off-season, demonstrating why she really is the female Jens! s she spoke about how her career has run so far, how she bounced back after injuries and her team, Vision1, collapsing half-way through 2009, and what she sees as the future of women's racing
"Next year is looking really exciting, with the talent spread across a number of teams. I think that’s a great thing. Weʼre going to have some really interesting and aggressive racing. Itʼs going to be quite tricky to know who is going to go, who to chase"
Next up, Dutch sprint-star Kirsten Wild talked about her decision to move from Cervélo to AA Drink-Leontien.nl, sprinting against the best in the world, her Olympic ambitions, and why being Dutch means getting a place on the squad is harder than practically anywhere else in the World
I suggest that the solution for the Dutch could be to find a grandmother from another country, and declare themselves temporarily Belgian, or some other cycling nation that would love to have their talent boosting their squad. Wild has already though about this. "I've looked at all my family", she laughs, "but they're all Dutch! I'd have to marry someone instead - but I don't know if my boyfriend would like it!"
Moving back to Cyclocross, British rider Gabriella Day talked about how a rider from a country that doesn't really know about Cross got into the sport, life in Belgium, blogging, and starting her season with a huge crash.
I was lucky to come away with only a broken finger. The rest was superficial: black eye, facial scrapes and bruised body. My finger is still strapped up now, it is still painful and swollen. I broke it on the joint so if it bends it re-fractures. Frustrating! I look very English when I drink my tea, my little finger sticks out!
Rounding out the "how many World Champions can we talk to in a year?" section, Gavia had the chance to ask 2008 World and Olympic Road Champion Nicole Cooke some questions, and find out a bit more about her plans for 2011
Like many times in the past, we all support each other making sure that as a team we always have riders present in break away groups or covering attacks and let the race naturally unfold with the confidence that as soon as one of our riders comes in to a winning position everyone else will be there to support that rider so they can do their best.
See? 2010 was fabulous! Interviews with 4 riders who have won rainbow jerseys, a livechat with the best sprinter of 2010, and interviews covering road, track and 'Cross! How can Gavia and Chris top that? Well, most recently, they teased us with a preview of their long interview with Garmin-Cervélo boss, Jonathan Vaughters. Yes, they told us the truth about the Mystery of Sep Vanmarcke, but mostly this one was all about the promise of future goodies.... which will include some chat about the women's team - so looks like we're starting 2011 with a bang! And we all know Gav and Chris have big ambitions for this place, so here's to a 2011 that's even better!