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Adam Phelan: cycling, books, and movies

2014 is the first season of Adam Phelan in the Pro Continental ranks and the Drapac rider has high expectations. One of the most promising cyclists from Down Under, the 22-year old Aussie caught everyone’s attention in 2011, after winning the prologue of the Tour de Taiwan ahead of more experienced riders. That win was followed by many good results in Europe in the prestigious U23 races, such as Flèche du Sud, Olympia’s Tour or Thüringen-Rundfahrt, adding to those top 10s a win in the Gran Premio di Poggiana.  

Last week, knowing that Adam had some free time, I talked to him about how he began cycling, what are his goals, but also his favourite books and movies. 

– Adam, why cycling, what made you come to this sport?

My older brother was racing BMX, so when I was really young – three years old – myself and my twin brother Michael started to race BMX for fun. Obviously, when you’re that young there isn’t actually much racing happening, but we would go out on the week-ends and play around on the bikes. When we started getting old we decided to try road and track racing and it really took off from there. 

– And how were the first years of your career?

Very good! When I was a junior I did it for fun, and never really took it too seriously until I got to U19. I was still at school doing U19, so still found it hard to train 100 percent, but I was taking steps every year growing with training and racing. Once I left U19’s is when I really tried to step up and give cycling a go. 

– In 2011 you won the Tour de Taiwan prologue. What meant for you that win?

It was my first ever UCI race and the first outside the Oceania region. So to go and win the prologue was a big confidence boost. I wasn’t sure where I’d be in that type of field back then, so to know I was competitive was really nice. 

– You showed real skills in the ITT so far. Will this be your focus or are you thinking also about short stage races that have an ITT?

I think I fair a bit better with ITT’s during tours, so that will probably be more my focus. Trying to get a good enough ITT in order to be good on the GC in the shorter tours is more my goal, rather than trying to win one-day ITT events. 

– Besides the ITT, what are your other strenghts?

The all-rounder title often seems like a default position a rider takes if he don’t have a specific and obvious strength, but I do see myself fitting into that type of rider. I can climb quite well on the shorter climbs and don’t mind the windy and tough road races. My sprinting could be better, but from a small group I can get a good result in. Hopefully I will be able to develop myself further over the next few years and find out what type of rider I develop into.   

– Were you disappointed not to ride the Tour Down Under?

Obviously it would have been awesome to race Tour Down Under with the team, but it was always going to be tough to make the team and we sent a real strong squad there. I’m excited about the races I got coming up with team, so that’s been my focus. 

– How was the New Zealand Cycle Classic?

It was a good start to the season, with the team getting two stage wins and myself finishing 3rd in the GC. Legs felt good and was good to get some consecutive days of racing in, now looking forward to the next one!

– What’s your schedule for this season?

Recently I was at the Oceania Championships, and now I’ll do a couple NRS before heading to Tour of Turkey in late April. Turkey will be a big race for me, so hoping to be going well for that. 

– Do you have any goals for 2014?

Turkey and Japan are two tours that are on my schedule that I think I could do well in. I love going to Japan and haven’t raced the Tour of Japan before, so looking forward to that one! 

– What races do you dream of winning?

The Tour de France is an obvious one, but I’ve always loved the idea of doing the big Classics. The Tour of Flanders is one of my favourites! 

– I remember you saying a good book or movie never hurts. What are your favourites?

I’m pretty broad with my book and movie interests. I like a lot of different genres. “The Road”, by Cormac McCarthy, is one of my favourite books. It is incredibly well written, McCarthy’s prose is almost poetry, yet it’s dark and haunting. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel that really makes you think about our planet and our future. Currently I’m reading “The Orphan Master’s Son”, which is set in North Korea, and loving it, had a pretty big impression on me. Another good read is “The Book Thief”, by Markuz Zusak. When it comes to movies, I’m a big fan of “The Dark Knight” series, and most movies by Christopher Nolan.

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