Andžs Flaksis: “I want to turn pro next year”
In the last couple of seasons, Andžs Flaksis had some impressive results in the U23 races: he won three times the individual time trial at the National Championships (2011, 2012, 2013), was a silver medalist at the European Championships (2012) and finished 3rd in the Tour of Flanders (2011). Also, he rode for two important US teams – Chipotle-First Solar Development and Bontrager – thus gaining experience for the future in races that had at the start also World Tour teams.
A talented young rider (just 22 years old), Andžs Flaksis took some time this week to answer a couple of questions for Cafe Roubaix, about his seasons in the U23 ranks, his plans for the future and objectives as a pro.
– Andžs, how was this season?
This season was very short for me, because I got injured in the Spring and started racing only in June. So it was hard to catch up on others on what I had missed, but by end of the season I came back to where I was last year. That’s why I missed a big result this year.
– How much did it help you to ride for Bontrager, with a manager as Axel Merckx?
Bontrager is a great team for the U23 cyclists, I think it’s the best place to be in, Axel is a great director, and he was very supportive. The team is very professional and well-organised, and helps you develop instead of just pushing you in every race on the calendar, like some teams do.
– What’s your best memory from these years as an U23 rider?
Riding in US teams was a good memory, traveling over there, meeting new, great people. Also the time spent with the national team. I loved those years, even though they where tough at some times.
– You’ve had a couple of good results in these seasons, especially in the one-day races. Do you think these races could become your speciality in the future?
Yes, I won two 1.2 races, was 3rd in the U23 Flanders and 2nd in the European Championships. All of these are one-day races, and I think it will be my speciality in the future for sure! I love the one-day races: so hard, so exciting, so unpredictable!
– What are your strong points and what aspects do you feel you need to improve?
My strong point is endurance, definitely. Improve? Hmm, I think I need to improve in every aspect, because you need all in one-day races: speed, endurance, power and sprint.
– What’s the level of cycling in Latvia?
Road cycling is at a low point right now, but I think we will see it grow in the coming years, as I see more and more people joining road racing. Also, we have a ton of mountain biking, it’s big here, we have good series of mountain biking marathons.
– How did you started cycling? Did you have a rider you admired back then?
I started cycling at age 14, and I got into it slowly. First it was mountain biking, but then my dad took me to some road races, I liked that and it just kept on rolling. I didn’t have a favorite cyclist back then, I just loved to ride. Now my favorites are Jens Voigt and Fabian Cancellara
– I know you’re trying to become a pro. How is it, what are your prospects?
Yes, like every young cyclist I am trying to make my way to the pro peleton, but it is very hard right now, because a lot of teams are falling apart, so there are many good riders without contracts, and it’s hard for youngsters to move up. I don’t have any offers right now. I hope to find a team where I can improve myself and keep developing into a better cyclist.
– What race would you like the most to win and why?
My favorite is Paris-Roubaix, I want to ride in the World Tour and win the cobblestone trophy. That’s my dream! I love it so much because of how much that race can take out of your body and how hard it is. I did the U23 version last year and from then I knew I want to race the big one.