Carlos Verona: “I want to win the Vuelta one day”
A neo-pro with Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Carlos Verona got to race this year in some important competitions, like the Volta a Catalunya, Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Now, as this season is near the end, I thought it was a good moment to ask him to reflect on what happened in 2013, what improvements he made during the last months and what are his objective for next season, his second in the World Tour. Read what the young Spanish rider had to say in the following interview.
– Carlos, this season is almost over. How would you describe your experience with Omega Pharma-Quick Step?
It has been a great experience. The goal for this season was to get experience for the future and in the same time to help my teammates to get victories. I did both things and I’m happy for that; maybe I missed some good personal results, but sometimes is not possible do all the things at the same time: learn, work, help and have good results.
– What made you sign last year with the Belgian team?
My relationship with Omega Pharma-Quick Step didn’t start just last year. When I was in my first season with Burgos, the masseur Johan Molly already contacted me. I went in some training camps with the team, I met all the staff, they trusted me and I trusted them. I feel so lucky to be part of one of the best teams in the world and I hope I can stay here for a long time, because the atmosphere for working is simply perfect.
– What improvements do you feel you’ve made since becoming a pro?
I passed from Junior to Continental with Burgos BH, and after two seasons I’m already in a World Tour team. Everything has been so quick, so I’ve made a lot of improvements in a short time period. This year I feel that I’ve developed in the professional category, that I was able to work during long and hard stages for the team, that in the mountains I’m not so far from the best riders and specially that I’ve gained much endurance capacity. This year I arrived at the end with enough energy to do something else than survive.
– You’re a very young rider, who showed his climbing potential in a couple of races this season, but also at the U23 level. What are your main strengths?
I’m not sure yet, but I think that my terrain is in the mountains. Also, I like a lot the time trials: even if I did not get any good result in this discipline yet, I hope to do it in the near future.
– After this first season experience with Omega Pharma-Quick Step, what are your objectives for next year?
I want to go at least one step higher than this year. This season I’ve worked and I’ve learned. For next year, our team in the mountains is going to be stronger, with Michal Kwiatkowski and the new riders: Janier Acevedo, Rigoberto Uran and Wout Poels. I hope I can have a contribution to the team’s success by doing a better work in the mountains, and at the same time find some small races where I can get a good result. I’m already looking forward to it, but I know that with patience and keeping the good work it will arrive sooner or later.
– In what races you see yourself as a contender in the future, what are your dreams?
My dream is to become a good GC rider and win the Vuelta one day. Dreaming is free, and the time will say how far I can arrive in this sport. I just can put passion, work and discipline to get my own limit one day. If when I get my limit I’ll win La Vuelta, I’ll also be happy. If when I get my limit I’ll help someone else to win La Vuelta, I’ll also be happy. My major goal now is to find my place in the professional cycling, work hard to arrive as far as possible in this sport, and keep enjoying this lifestyle, because I would not change it for anything in the world.
– How did you started cycling?
I started at the age of 12. I played before football, and basketball. I was good, but not good enough. I wanted something different, and for me cycling it was. The brother of my best friend started to ride bikes in a club next to our town and in the next season my friend and I started too. Once I started, I could not stop. I love to race, but especially to train. Discovering and enjoying the world while riding on two wheels is simply awesome.
– Growing up, did you have an idol?
Yes. Maybe not an idol, but I had some riders who I liked. Jose Angel Gomez Marchante was the first, because he was always smiling and was friendly with the public. Also, I liked Alejandro Valverde. He was and still is a killer.
– How does a normal day normal look for you outside the races?
Cycling requires a quiet life to get an optimal performance, so my day is quieter than I would like. I always try to follow a schedule and more or less is this one: I wake up at 8 o’clock, I have a good breakfast (it’s my favorite meal), half an hour later I start training, if is possible with other riders. If the training is longer than three hours, I make a coffee/sandwich stop, if it isn’t, I come back straight to home, where I have lunch and I burn the afternoon at home with my girlfriend. When we have time, I like to travel, discover new places and in the off-season I love to go hiking with my girlfriend, Esther, and our dog, Nhoa. I prefer the mountains, but now in the summer we also like to jump to to the Catalonia Beaches.