Brent Bookwalter of Athens, Georgia is part of BMC’s Paris-Nice squad. Today, stage 6, was critical in the eight-day race. The two stages preceding this 27 kilometer effort were tough – each contained seven categorized climbs. The true contenders of the race were now surfacing and the time trial was either going to cement their place or drop them out of contention.
Carolina Cycling News received exclusive content from Bookwalter regarding how he felt before this pivotal stage and how Paris-Nice fit into the grand plan of the season.
“Yesterday everyone decided to go extremely hard,” said Bookwalter describing stage 5’s 193 kilometer slog through the French wine country. “It took a while for the break to go – there was a lot of reshuffling. Whenever there is that much reshuffling going on there’s a lot of guys biting their handlebars and willing themselves to continue.”
Today was a new day and the time trial, for some riders, can almost be seen as an active recovery stage – just pedal hard enough to make the time split and not be eliminated. Bookwalter explained how he was going to tackle today’s race of truth.
“I’m aiming to go as hard as I can and push the pedals. I’m also getting used to the new bike. It’s the first time trial of the year and I haven’t spent a lot of time on a time trial bike. I didn’t even see the bike until the other day. It will be a good dry run.”
Once through the time trial the Lees-McRae alumnus was thinking of the upcoming stages.
“I’m still hopeful that the team puts in an inspired performance on these last days and gets through the first big stage race of the year. Hopefully it will serve us well for the rest of the year.”
At the end of the day Brent was the fastest BMC rider with a time of 35:44 for 28th place. As Brent said, Paris-Nice is a stepping stone for the rest of the year. These are still early days in the long season and Carolina Cycling News is expecting big things from our other Southeast riders, John Murphy and George Hincapie, during the Spring Classics.