Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Rory Sutherland is another new member of the team and he’s launching the 2013 season in the French stage race, Tour de Mediteraneen starting February 6th. Here’s a chance to get to know the Australian rider a bit better:
Where are you from?
“I was born and raised in Canberra, Australia in the south eastern part of the country. Quite often we would do the 50 minutes drive away from the city and into the real outdoors where we would explore the nature. I grew up in a good healthy environment and my parents often took us camping and hiking.”
When did you start riding?
“I started riding when I was 14. In the early nineties, the government set up a plan to create focus on Olympic sports in order to achieve better results in the long run in terms of Olympic medals. So they initiated a campaign with school tests to find out which sports you would be good at based on measuring the lengths of your arms, legs and body weight. They put all your information in a computer and they could tell you which sport you should be good at. My two sports were cycling and rowing. I’m tall, my arms are long and my endurance is relatively good. None of my family had ever been in to cycling so this is how I got in to the sport which is probably different from many other athletes.”
Which result are you mostly proud of?
“Actually, I’m most proud of the US Pro Challenge stage win this August in my new home town of Boulder, Colorado where I went solo on the final climb. A climb that I usually train on and I won the stage with family and friends and 27-30.000 other people watching the race on the final 5 kilometers. I won in front of good riders like Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer and Vincenzo Nibali and the victory came after a rather tough year with no other big results so it was liberating and quite emotional. I had goose bumps the whole day.”
Why choose Saxo Bank-Tinkoff?
“I have been on a continental team throughout the last six seasons and I’ve been looking for a new World Tour team the whole year. None of the other opportunities were really a good fit for me, my future or for my family. I want my family to feel comfortable. I have a wife and a three-year old son and if they’re not happy, I’m not happy. But when I first spoke with Bjarne and a few other riders who have been on the team like Jason McCartney, it seemed like the right team to choose. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t think I’ve reached my full potential and I need someone like Bjarne and the sports directors on this team to help me take another step up in my development. The whole idea of teamwork including everyone on the team is very appealing to me. Bjarne has already given me a lot of confidence by asking me to join him because he’s definitely doing that for a reason.”
What are your dreams and hopes for 2013?
“Like most riders, I would like to ride Tour de France with Alberto but the first year on the team, I think I have to listen and learn and see how I develop as I rider and then focus on creating big results later on.”
Do you have any special rituals before a race?
“No, none at all. To do a race is serious business but I try not to take things so seriously. That’s the way I get most out of my potential. That doesn’t mean I’m going out not taking my job seriously but my motivation is to enjoy racing. That’s quite essential to have a good team and creating results. Sure, it’s a job but we can have fun while we’re doing it and then the results will come.”
What’s your specialty on the bike?
“I think I’m a bit of an allrounder really. I can time trial pretty well, I’ve won mountain top finishes, I’ve won breakaway finishes and I’ve won sprints from 40-50 guys so I can do a bunch of different things but I might not be exceptional in just one thing. Being versatile is important on a team like this who is shooting for the grand tours.”
Where do you live now?
“We have a house in Boulder, Colorado which we consider as our home and when we’re in Europe, we live in Girona, Spain. During the day, my wife takes care of our son and we’re expecting another baby in March.”