Calvin Watson: “Signing with Trek is a dream come true”
A couple of days ago, Trek Factory Racing announced the latest transfer for next season: Calvin Watson. Many were surprised by this move, but they shouldn’t have been, because the young Australian, despite of his age (20 years), had some impressive results, winning in the past three seasons the Tour du Valromey, the Coppa Linari and the Herald Sun Tour (one of the most important races from Down Under).
Wanting to know how he is feeling after signing the contract with Trek Factory Racing, what are his expectations for 2014 and what races he dreams of winning in the future, I’ve contacted Calvin this week and he made some time to answer my questions.
– Calvin, your transfer to Trek was for many a surprise. Were you also surprised when the team contacted you for this move?
I guess to some people my signing with Trek came as a surprise, as I am still quite young and haven’t had a huge amount of victories. It’s an amazing opportunity to continue to learn and develop in a professional environment, and I am excited to make the most of it!
– When did the negotiations started?
Negotiations began early in the season, through my agent, Alex Carera. Only in August though I realised that signing with Trek was about to become reality. To finally reach the goal that you have been aspiring to for many years, it was a very special moment.
– And how are you feeling now, knowing that next year you will race in the World Tour?
Of course, it’s a very exciting time and I have to enjoy it! But there is no doubt that the real hard work begins now, because stepping up to the World Tour is going to be a big jump. With the support of the team and the right people around me, I feel as though I can make this progression, there will be a huge amount of learning involved and I am really looking forward to that.
– People don’t know you very well, despite some very good results. Can you please tell us more about you, what’s your history with cycling?
I’ve started racing bikes when I was about 12 years old, and since then I’ve never looked back. Cycling is one of those sports where once you start you never stop, you become addicted! There was some cycling history in our family, so maybe that is where it all stemmed from. I have been lucky enough to have some great mentors and coaches that have helped me to progress from juniors, through to U23s.
– How important was the Australian Institute of Sport in your development?
The Australian Institute of Sport has been instrumental in my development, the program gives a clear pathway for young Australian riders. It’s a very professionally run set up and it gives many U23 Australian riders a stepping stone for moving up to the World Tour. Without their support over the last four years I wouldn’t be where I am now. There are very close ties with Orica-GreenEdge now, and that gives a lot of young Australians something to strive towards, which is only healthy for the growth of cycling.
– What meant for you winning the Herald Sun Tour ahead of many riders with much more experience?
The Herald Sun Tour was a very special victory! To win on my 20th Birthday, on my local roads seemed quite surreal, and to have my family and friends there supporting was a great moment! Having my name on the Honour Roll, next to the likes of Bradley Wiggins, Simon Gerrans or Nathan Hass is quite special in itself.
– In 2013, you’ve raced and trained for a couple of months in Europe. How was that experience?
For the last two years I have spent 6-8 months of the year in Europe racing and training. Europe is the home of cycling, so for Australians who have the goal to turn professional, racing in Europe is essential.
– You’re a rider who had good results in one-week stage races and punchy one-day races. Would you like these be your focus for the future?
Of course, I would love to develop into a stage racer in the future. Though for now I am looking forward to following the advice and structure that the team will put in place for me, to hopefully get the best out of myself. There is a huge amount of experience and knowledge within the team so I look forward to learning from them!
– And what races do you dream of winning as a pro?
Obviously everyone dreams of winning a Grand Tour, though I do love the big one day classics. There will be a strong focus on the one-day races in the team, so we will see what path the team wants me to take.