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BMC climber Garcia: Tour of California bound

10. January 2009

As a member of BMC's climbing cadre, Jonathan Garcia is anxiously looking forward to the start of the season which for him will be at the prestigious Amgen Tour of California.

Though Garcia suffered a number of unfortunate and painful crashes during the 2008 season, he can still look back on the year with a great deal of well-placed satisfaction.  Easily following BMC's learning curve, Garcia made a serious impact in the team's successes in races such as the 2008 Tour of Switzerland and Tour of Utah.  Garcia is now keen to take his wider experience and contribute it to the entire team's elevated goals for 2009.

You had some bad luck with crashes last year, most notably early in the Tour of Switzerland.  Do you feel there is some unfinished business for you this year?

Jonathan Garcia: Well, crashes are just one of those things.  I had something like five bad crashes last year, but I wouldn't at all say I had a bad year.  We had fashioned my training so that I would peak nearer the end of the year, so crashing that badly in the first stage of the Tour of Switzerland didn't help.  But I feel like I made the most of it and was even able to represent the team in a long breakaway a few days after my crash.  Throughout the year I learned a lot and always worked for the team.  Just to have had the chance to be in such an amazing race like Switzerland was huge for me.  And now I am ready to move on and really make things happen this year.

It has been pretty cold in Colorado this winter.  Do you feel like you have been able to keep your fitness where you want it to be?

It definitely has been cold but there hasn't been that much snow in Fort Collins so I have been lucky to be able to get out on the bike just about every day.   Of course I took a break at the end of last season, and I have also spent a lot of time in the gym working on my core strength, flexibility and that sort of thing.  I also do a bit of running, and then the riding.  There were some really cold days I was out and asking myself what I was doing!  Any time it gets below 30° F, you are also dealing with the wind chill and it's pretty cold.

Do you have many fellow pros to ride with in Fort Collins?  Do you like to ride in groups or are you on your own a lot?

I like to mix it up a bit.  When I am doing my own specific training I usually like to be on my own.  But for longer, base mile rides it is nice to be in a group.  There are a few other pros living around here, but mostly just really good amateurs who spend all their time training and racing too.  The group rides can be pretty tough.

You are getting ready to race the Tour of California this year, right?

Yes and I'm really happy to be doing it again.  I did it two years ago, and at the time it was my first professional race.  I have to admit that I was a bit over my head.  But now I feel a lot more confident.  I have learned so much, especially after doing the Pro Tour races in Europe that we did last year.  The team is so strong this year that I know we will be in a position to make a serious impact.

You must be happy there will be so much climbing for the race this year.   Do you see yourself mainly as a stage racer?

I definitely do want to be a strong stage racer.  Climbing is my strongest point, but we all work to be complete riders and time trialling is certainly part of that.  I excel at climbing and do well in time trials so I really like to be on the roster for the hard stage races; it's where I feel I can be the most useful.

Is there a race in Europe that is a particular goal, or are you ready to be strong wherever the team needs you?

A little of both really.  I always ride hard for the team, but for me I'd love to be able to focus on a race like the Tour of Romandie because I feel that my strengths are really suited to it.  Stateside, something like the Tour of Utah is a particular favourite.  Living in Colorado I have a lot of opportunities to hone my climbing so the really hard climbing stage races are where I excel.  That is another reason that I am so looking forward to the Tour of California since they have really packed in a lot of climbing.  It should be good!