Image taken from Twitter
The Vuelta a España starts this weekend and I caught up with pro cyclists Martin and Peter Velits. Martin Velits will be taking part in the Vuelta with Etixx Quick Step.
How was it you got into cycling?
“Both with my brother as kids we tried all kind of sports from soccer to ice hockey. We always had our bikes near so we spent sometimes the whole day on bike. As a family we have a tradition in racing bikes – our father used to do bike racing. One day we decided we should try to do some racing. This happened when we were around 14 years old. Since than we didn’t stop.”
Are you competitive with each other as brothers?
“We were always opposite. We are trying to help each other. One day I don’t really have a good day on a bike and Martin helps me to go through the training. Other day its my turn. We are more supporting each other than competing.”
So you’ve [Peter] ridden the Tour De France an incredible 6 times, how does it compare to any other race/tour?
“You can’t really compare it. There is TdF and big big gap after is the rest of the races. All the attention is on Tour and these three weeks in July. Its a great atmosphere and a big circus. I really like it there.”
You [Peter] finished second in the Vuelta back in 2010, how did that feel?
“That was a great feeling. That year (2010) I have started the season very strong with couple of good results. During the Dauphine I had a crash and broke my collarbone. I was forced to have a rest in a really good shape and it pays off at the end of the season during the Vuelta. I didn’t come there with a great ambition but as the race went I was always in top ten GC and the motivation was growing. The TT decided the race for me and I have reached the biggest result. in my career.”
How much previous experience played a part in this?
“You really need to have some experiences to compete on grand tours. At that time I did Tour already couple of times so I knew what to expect. I believe my experience from the biggest race in the world had an impact on this result.”
Realistically, what is your [Peter] aim for 2016?
“After my last year surgery I am looking to get to the same level I was before. It is taking a lot of time and effort but I believe its achievable. When I will be ok I think the results will come along.”
BMC have brought in Riche Porte for this season making the BMC team incredibly strong. Does this make you look forward to the season?
“Yes of course. I did couple of racing days with Richie and he is a great guy. Very calm and professional. The team got double so strong as it was last year. He is real GC contender on a grand tour and together with Tejay they can be right up there.”
This maybe one for Martin but what is your favourite one day race?
“Definitely Roubaix. Its such and epic race. Always a great battle and big history involved. Its the one race you want to ride if you are a classic rider.”
Who do you get on with best in the peloton and why?
“Obviously with your team mates is always the best but on top of that we have really good relationship with Adam Hansen from Lotto. He lives about 60km from us so we do some rides together. He is a close family friend and spend last Christmas with us.”
As pro rider’s, do you have any good beginner tips for riders who are just getting into the sport or want to better themselves?
“For the young guys the most important thing is to enjoy it. To enjoy the training, racing and with some luck it all will come together. Lets be honest you will not enjoy every training and race there but the majority of the time you should enjoy it. There is nothing worse than if a young guy is forced to cycling by someone else.”
Has your love for the bike differed since you first started out? I can understand there may be a lot of pressure when riding is a professional.
“It is normal the love for the bike changes. It is the same like with other things. You just need to adapt and see the point of doing it. If you don’t see the point anymore is time to change. Professional cycling is tough. Its not as glamorous as it seems in the TV. However I still like it. I like the days when I have a good legs and I can be up there. Of course there are also day when I suffer from beginning until the finish line. These days I am just counting the hours to say the day is over…”
Off the bike, what do you like to get up to? Is there a period of time where you avoid the bike for a week or so?
“Right after the season we usually take off with my brother. I believe its good to leave the bike alone for couple of weeks from the year. Especially when the seasons are getting longer. In the off season we play ice hockey as much as we can. Its a great form of training and we just simply love the game with Martin.”
What was is it that made you decide to start your own clothing brand?
“Together with Martin we were thinking a lot about it. We wanted to do something different in our lives. Professional cycling is a great way of living but you find yourself during the day just wasting time. We wanted to put ourselves into brand new challenges. To see if we can make it. As now I can say it was the best decision. We grow as persons, learn a lot of new things and it let us explore the brand new world.”
Where did the name ‘Isadore’ come from?
“During the time we were thinking about the clothing company we were thinking a lot how to call it. We were listening this song called Isadore and we really liked it. So we decided to go for it. After further research we found out it has a meaning as well. It becomes from Greek mythology as a “gift of god Isis”. God Isis was patroness of nature and magic.”
Has the success of Isadore been better than you imagined?
“To be honest we never thought how big we want to grow or what will be the success. We really like to do what we do with Isadore and we are very happy what we have achieved so far. We have never took it for granted and there is a lot of work behind.”