Friday 13 February 2009

Go Canada! Svein Tuft at the Tour of California

Svein Tuft and his silver time trial medal
Photo by one-fat-man, Creative Commons

It has been an awful long time since Steve Bauer wore the yellow jersey for nine days straight and it is not often we get to cheer for Canadians in the pro peloton. There are presently four top-level pros, including Michael Barry, whose wife Dede's almond biscotti recipe remains a mainstay of my cooking repertoire. . But probably the most interesting of the four is British Columbia’s Svein Tuft, who is riding the Tour of California. He is 31 years old and considered a very late bloomer. Much of his early life seems to have been spent out of doors camping but at 21 he entered his first bike race. Within two years he was on the Canadian national team and subsequently spent four years racing as a pro before leaving, disheartened by the pervasive use of drugs in the sport.. He was then sought out by a Canadian team that believed in his abilities (and would let him disappear into the mountains all winter). They found him mowing lawns in 2004 and brought him on board.

Time trialling in Italy at the World Championships
Photo by one-fat-man, Creative Commons

In 2008 he won a silver medal at the World Championships in the time trial and was Top Ten at the Beijing Olympics. With the financial failure of his Canadian team, the way was clear for him to join Garmin-Slipstream. Besides the Tour of California, it is likely that he will be at the Tour de France this summer as well. An interesting story, so interesting that both and the New York Times and the Globe & Mail have run stories this last week about him.

Good luck, Svein, and I only wish I was in California for this race too.

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