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"I want to keep testing the water in terms of GC and stage hunting. I want to help Tejay jump up the Tour de France overall classification and hopefully target the Tour of California for myself again.”


Photo: BMC Racing Team (Continuum Sports, LLC)




22.12.2014 @ 09:00 Posted by Joseph Doherty

BMC Racing Team’s Peter Stetina spoke exclusively to from the team’s training camp in Denia, Spain about his 2014 season, his debut Tour de France, his ambitions for the 2015 season and how his first year away from the Garmin team was.


Despite not winning this year, Stetina was pleased with his 2014 and he said that he enjoyed the feeling of being on a new team.


“My 2014 season was good. It was different, fun and refreshing and I got to do my first Tour. It was nice wearing a different jersey on my back. 2014 was just a breath of new life.”


27-year-old Stetina, who before 2014, had spent his entire career at the Garmin team, could easily have struggled this year in his debut with BMC. Instead he flourished, helping Tejay van Garderen equal his best ever Tour finish while Stetina debuted at the race, as well as recording some strong personal results of his own, such as being able to compete with the best in the Tours of California and San Luis.


He pointed out the differences between the two squads, even though he acknowledged that both Garmin and BMC also share some similarities.


“Even though they are both American teams, (Garmin-Sharp and BMC Racing Team) they are different in the way they run things, it’s a different organisation, a different race schedule. Sometimes its good to start with a fresh chance and a new personality. The move allowed me to recreate myself into the rider I want to be.”


One of the highlights of Stetina’s 2014 season was his appearance at the Tour de France. This was special for the American, as it marked his first Grand Tour outside of the Giro, having ridden and finished the Italian race three times in 2011, 2012 and 2013. he kept his 1005 Grand Tour finishing rate up, coming in 35th on GC at the end of the race in Paris.


“The Tour was stressful. Every day was a battle and we all had to really band together to create something special because Tejay kept ending up on the ground and we had to pick ourselves up and keep going. It was really fun to be a part of it but it was really nice one it ended too.”


At the beginning of 2014, van Garderen made it clear that he would not be defending his Tour of California title, and Stetina had always openly admitted he wanted to lead the team at the race, which he did this year, finishing sixth overall, 2:30 down on Bradley Wiggins.


“I enjoyed racing the GC and I had real good form. I didn’t have as great a time trial and unfortunately that time trial course seemed to be a time triallers heaven. I ended up losing the GC by the exact amount of time I lost in the time trial to Wiggo actually. My climbing was on par and I’m looking forward to it in 2015. With a better time trial, hopefully the course will suit the climbers a little more.”


To go with the performances in California and San Luis, in 2013, Stetina was fourth in the Tour of Langkawi, showing that he is a genuine challenger in the stage races. But he is yet to record a pro win, with third in GP Miguel Indurain 2013 being as close as he has gotten. Would his lack of a win prompt him to drop his GC ambitions and try to convert himself into a stage hunter, like Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) did so effectively this year?


“It depends on the race. id really like to target the GC in races like California, Utah and other climber friendly races, Catalunya maybe. But as far as the Grand Tours are concerned right now, I think I’ve got to try for some stage hunting and I’m still trying to figure out which route to go. It’s taken me a little while because I am so close to the GC and the recovery is my strong point. But I still haven’t capped off that big win in Europe either so I’ve got to look for some stages. It’s a race by race case.”


If Stetina could win his perfect stage in a Grand Tour, he was in no doubt that it would be atop a big summit finish in a stage that featured plenty of climbing and not much flat.


“The best stage would be for me a mountainous race of attrition, almost like a mountain bike race, where it is just climb after climb and it just breaks everybody.”


Stetina isn’t going to change his objectives too much from what he targeted in 2014. He wants another crack at the Tour of California and is looking to improve his general abilities, both as a stage hunter and GC rider. He will also look to be in top form to help van Garderen get higher in the Tour de France GC come July when the road kicks upwards.


“My 2015 objectives are a bit more of the same as this year’s. I want to keep testing the water in terms of GC and stage hunting. I want to help Tejay jump up the Tour de France overall classification and hopefully target the Tour of California for myself again.”


Stetina’s career is progressing nicely and if his time trialling improves and the parcours of the race is right, he may not a contender for stage wins, but he could also be a very viable candidate for an overall win, particularly in the races in front of his home crowds in the USA. Watch out the Tours of California, Utah and Colorado.




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