The Cervelo Test Team was launched in 2009 by the original founders of the Cervelo bike company Phil White and Gerard Vroomen. While they do not currently hold a Pro Tour license, they are the number one ranked professional team in the world based on their results in the biggest races including four stage win a the recent Giro d'Italia. The team includes 2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre and Tour green jersey wearer Thor Hushovd, but recruits such as Heinrich Haussler, Serge Pauwels and Simon Gerrans have also performed well.
I caught up with Phil White and rider Simon Gerrans at the team bus after the Blockhaus stage.
Bruce: tell me about Carlos Sastre's win on Monte Petrano
Phil White: It was not scripted, but that was something we wanted to do. We figured that was a stage he could really excel on. It was similar to what he did last year on l'Alpe d'Huez. When everyone else is worn down he's just got more energy and can go longer than anyone else. He's like the Energizer Bunny of cycling.
Bruce: what about Simon Gerrans' win at Bologna?
Phil White: It was a long day. That break worked super well together. There was no scrapping, everyone pulled their weight and it just came down to who the strongest rider was. Gerrans is a strong rider. We saw him win the Tour stage win and that is one reason we got him.
Bruce: how hard was it to build a team from scratch and get some credibility?
Phil White: I think the reputation of the team was initially that Carlos put his name to it then Thor. Those guys brought credibility to the effort, but pretty soon those guys in the classics put their stamp on it and now it is not a team that is relying on two name riders. It is a team that has built its own reputation. Those guys came right out of the blocks and stamped their name on it a the Tour of Qatar. It got the monkey off our back early so we could focus on moving ahead rather than feeling the pressure to win.
Bruce: was it hard to get the respect of the other teams in the Pro Peloton?
Phil White: I don't think anyone gives you respect just by showing up. You have to earn it. Luckily our guys earned it pretty hard and pretty solidly right from the start. In pro cycling there is no such thing as an easy ride. You have to earn your stripes and there is no way around that. We have good guys and they proved early on that they deserved the respect.
Bruce: how are things looking for the Tour?
Phil White: I think we will be right in there for the Tour. The Giro is our grand tour debut. I have a book where I have been making notes, and the sport directors have as well and it is pretty much full of little things we have to fix and improve. That's how we are going to get better by focusing on the things we
can do better.
Bruce: Take us through the finale of your win at Bologna.
Simon Gerrans: I think it was just basically survival of the breakaway; whoever could get to the top first. There was nothing too tactical about it. It was just who could get up the hill the fastest.
Bruce: it looked like the false flat halfway up took you by surprise.
Simon Gerrans: I didn't know the climb so that second ramp up to the finish was a bit of a surprise. Luckily I had a bit of gas in the tank for that.