Andrea Dvorak is one of the true toughies of the women’s professional peloton. She is the consummate teammate. She can drive a break to shatter and she can climb like a goat. She is one of my favorite people in the sport and i was honored to be teammates with her for 2 years on Colavita/Sutterhome, when she was just getting started in her career. She can ride on the front all day long and will work for her leader without hesitation and she does it to precision. This is her first World Championships and it is so well deserved! She is nervous and excited and i was able to get her to sit down for 10 minutes the other day to answer a few questions, which she rarely does, the sitting part that is:-)
DB: Who are Team USA’s main competitors on this Worlds course?
AD: After last year’s World Championship road race held in Copenhagen which was completely flat, this year’s course adds some tough climbs. The course has a “spring classic” feel to it, obviously, as the Cauberg Hill is the finish of the Amstel Gold Race. The women’s race will race around the 16.5 kilometer circuit which will go over the Cauberg and the Bemelerberg Hill. The race will be hard and the winner will be a strong rider who can withstand the sharp climbs lap after lap.
The main competitor, as always, starts with Marianne Vos who is a great all-around cyclists – great spinter, climber, descender, etc. She will be especially hungry to win given that she has placed second now over the last few years and she will be racing in front of the home crowd.
Another strong rider will be Giorgia Bronzini. Having won both in Geelong in 2010 and Copenhagen in 2011, she has shown that she can win on both flat and hilly terrains. She is a strong power climber; the hard part for her, will be the constant repetition of the climbs.
The German team will field a strong line-up with Ardnt, Trixi Worrack, and Tutenberg, just to name a few. Any of these riders could factor into the win depending on how the race is raced.
DB: What will your role be on the team on this type of course?
AD: I like to refer to this course as a “hard-womens course” in that it will be a race of attrition, with the strongest left standing. Team USA is fortunately fielding a super-strong team with a lot of strong women! I will be a worker throughout the race to ensure that our team leader is where she needs to be, protected and resting as much as possible before the crucial, final breaking point that will most likely occur late in the race over one of the climbs.
DB: This is your first World Champs! Tell me a bit about your mental preparation going into a race of this magnitude.
AD: I am so excited to be part of this year’s World Championship Team! Especially after the incredible year that the USA Women have had over all the cycling disciplines – road, track and mountain biking. I usually get very nervous before big, important races, but what relaxes me about this race is the comforting thought of how strong of a team the US is sending and that we really should be looked upon as one of the strongest teams in the race with one of the best chances to take the rainbow jersey. I will look to my six teammates to help me harness my nervous energy and transform it into doing my job to the best of my ability to ensure the best team result possible!
DB: What personal goals have you set for yourself going into this race?
AD: My goal going into the race is to be the best teammate possible. I pride myself on being a very strong rider with the ability to ride strong support throughout the race. Outsiders often do not realize how important the team aspect of bike racing really is. Even though only one rider may pull on the rainbow jersey at the end of the race, it took an entire team to get her there. So, if USA wins, I will be right there in spirit on the top step struggling to pull on the jersey and getting awkward kisses from the podium boys.
DB: Let’s say you end up in a small breakaway and its looking like you will make it to the finish and the team is putting their eggs in your basket to pull this off. Big pressure. You are suffering. Its just you and a whole lot of nasty pain fighting for a rainbow jersey. What are a few thoughts or things you tell yourself to push through those inevitable tough spots?
AD: These last two seasons, I have been working with Andy Guptill, who has given me workouts harder than I ever thought possible. I have screamed, keeled over on the side of the road, thought I burst something in my head, thrown-up, and self-talked my way through many intervals – “do you want this?”, “this is the final climb at Worlds…”, “finish line at the top…”, “only three minutes and you have it…” So, the physical preparation is there. Also, any physical pain will always be less than any emotional pain that I may have after a race if I know that I did not give it everything that I could have at that final moment. Regret hurts more than lactic acid, and lasts a long time after a race ends. Physical pain is temporary, and for me, I welcome it.
Interview by Dotsie Bausch of Cyclingillustrated