Lucas Euser Part 2: The road back into the peloton
Browne: In 2010 you’re on a new team, Team Spider Tech presented by Planet Energy.
Lucas Euser: The team is run by Steve Bauer, a cycling legend and a bad ass dude. I have spoken to him on the phone a lot. I have a lot of respect for him and how he handles himself. He built this team a few years ago and it’s on a very similar path that Slipstream was back in 2006 and 2007 – a ProTour team with a majority of Americans. I think Steve wants to have the first Canadian ProTour team and to do it with a majority of Canadians. The team wants to be Pro Continental in 2011. This year they want to seek some invites for some European events like the Tour of Ireland and French 2.1 races. Maybe the Tour of Britain? The team also wants to focus on the American stage races rather than the NRC, which is what attracts me. I really didn’t want to come back and do a bunch of short time trials and criteriums. That’s not my flavor. I like to do longer stages with longer climbs – a more European-style. That’s why I had more success in Europe than I did here in the States. We are trying to get into the two ProTour races in Canada and do a bit of racing in Europe between them to get ready. It’s a team with an ambitious future. They have a great dynamic working in the team right now. I can see them succeeding this year and make that push for ProTour in the next three years. So there is that relationship between Slipstream and Planet Energy. I feel like I have a second chance. I have that knowledge from helping develop a ProTour team and apply it to a team with the same vision. Now I have a lot of experience and background, not only on the bike, but off the bike. It is another exciting adventure where I can use my legs and brain as well.
Browne: You say your first race isn’t going to be ‘til April.
Euser: I have given myself one year after the accident and it just happens to be at the beginning of the Tour of California. My target goal is to get the team into the Tour of California and to race it. In order to do that I need to be racing in March, maybe early April by the latest, so that is the preliminary goal. I don’t expect to be 100% fit like I was prior to my accident but I expect to be good enough to race and get some good quality racing out of the Tour of California. The team has a good shot of getting into the race and doing well there. You saw Martin Gilbert win the last stage of the Tour of Missouri. There is a great sprint team within Spider Tech presented by Planet Energy this year. They can challenge the better sprinters this year. I love the challenge of being on the team and taking on that challenge at the Tour of California.
Browne: You’re known more as a climber. How are you going to fit into the team?
Euser: They see me fitting into the team in the overall aspect. They want to move to Europe in 2011 and have committed to me for 2010 to help me rehab and get back into racing. Bauer saw potential in me. I have the knowledge and experience base to make it to the European peloton and I can definitely help the team get there. I fit in more with the GC guys on the team, but by no means do I think I’ll be rivaling Levi at the Tour of California. But one day, when those guys are gone, I think it might be my chance. I feel like I am the next generation of Americans cyclists that in the next three or four years will be coming into their prime. I fit into the big picture of the team, maybe not the immediate future.
Browne: After the Tour of California what are your other goals?
Euser: It is hard for me to set goals past that. I need to make a full recovery so I just don’t know when or if that is going to happen. However, I look to races like the Tour of Ireland and the Tour of Britain that are a European style, but without the ProTour status. Those could be a good return back to the European peloton for 2011. I would love to cap off the year with another great performance in Greenville [US Pro road race]. I had a great ride there in 2008 and I was looking forward to 2009. In 2010 why not set a goal of having a good presence at the US Pro? But I haven’t thought too much beyond my return, because my recovery is so important right now. I feel like if I build my foundation really well things will fall into place afterwards. So to set goals past that. I don’t know if I should do that right now. I don’t want to convince myself of something that may not be there, so why not focus on the task at hand?
Browne: So for you to set long-term goals is really hard to do?
Euser: It’s about getting back to good health, believe in the talent I have and that talent will lead me to returning to the European peloton in 2011. That’s about all I can do right now. I know I have the ability and I just need to be confident.
* Special shout out to Euser’s physical therapist Curtis Cramblet of Revolutions in Fitness. Lucas Euser – “Curtis is more than a PT or a bike fitter. He is an exceptional healer that transcends the borders of the human body. He understands how we work and move more than anyone I have ever met. His ability to apply his knowledge to the power of healing and work every aspect of our bodies is uncanny. His work is invaluable and has smoothed my road to recovery from day one. I can’t give him enough praise.”