Serghei Tvetcov: Confident ahead of 2015
Without any doubt, Serghei Tvetcov has been one of the revelations of the UCI America Tour in 2014. Riding for the Continental team Jelly Belly, the 25-year-old won for the second time in a row the Cascade Cycling Classic, took the Tour of the Gila ITT and got a 3rd place in the Tour de Beauce, all in the first months of the season. Then, in the second half of the year, Tvetcov surprised the peloton with his podium in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, ahead of many World Tour riders, including Rafal Majka, winner of the polka dot jersey in the Tour de France.
His results – which came after years of hard work and dedication – couldn’t go unnoticed and Serghei Tvetcov eventually made an important step in his career by signing with Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela, the Pro Continental team managed by Gianni Savio. Recently, I got to talk with him about this and the most important moments of his career.
– Serghei, in the past three years you raced in the US. How did you end up there?
It’s a pretty interesting story. In 2009 I have applied for the green card lottery in my country just for fun, although I knew many people don’t trust in lotteries. Then, in August 2009, I got a call and was told that I was selected and got a green card. At that time I really didn’t know if I should be happy or not, because I didn’t knew too much about the U.S.A. So I have to thank my friend who changed my mind and told me I should use the opportunity and go there, although I was reluctant to this, as I was sure I have bigger chances of making it as a cyclist in Europe. In August 2010, after my season was over, I came in the US, where I’ve met great people who helped me a lot, and for this I can consider them as my US parents. I started riding there in 2010, by my own, in some local races, and at the same time I worked in a grocery store. Finally, in 2011 I found my first local team, thanks to which I got to learn the way cycling goes in the US. I got some results and in 2012 I signed with Exergy. From there, I went to Jelly Belly, where I’ve spent the past two seasons.
– What differences did you find between the European racing culture and the American one?
I think the US has a very big and professional level in cycling. It’s not just the riders, but also the teams and the way things are organized. In the small amateur teams you feel the same way you do in the big European teams of the second division. The tactics and the style of racing are similar. An important difference is that in Europe, from 200 riders, 50-80 can win, while in the US only 20-30 can do it.
– How much did this experience helped you to improve?
All the US teams were important in that matter. My first team, run by Emile Abraham, gave me huge experience in racing criteriums, which helped me during the seasons. Then, the first pro team, Exergy, run by Tad Hamilton helped me believe in myself that I can race with big guys. That was during my first USA Pro Challenge experience, in 2012, when I got into breakaways with riders like Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Danielson, George Hincapie, or Jens Voigt. Then, during the two seasons spent with Jelly Belly, run by the legendary Danny Van Haute, with Matty Rice as a DS, the team was built to support me in some races.
– Your best season so far came in 2014. Did you expect to have such a good run?
I would say that my last four seasons were the best. I am just really glad to see myself improving step by step, season by season, in order to have such good results, like the ones I got this year. After the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, my director told me that I have graduated in the US and the time has come for me to get to another level.
– Speaking of this, how was the USA Pro Cycling Challenge?
This is the race I got in love with since my first time here, back in 2012. Colorado is one of best places in the US for cycling – mountains, altitude, great roads, nice weather – and the crowds coming to see the race are the best, cheering the riders every year during the stages.
– I presume you received many offers afterwards. What made you go to Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela?
I’m working with former World Tour rider Baden Cooke, who is now a cycling agent, and already after my second win in the Cascade Cycling Classics he got some offers, but we decided it was better to wait until the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. After the race, I got more offers from World Tour and Pro Continental teams. I analysed them all and decided that the one coming from Androni was the best.
– How was the first training camp with the team?
It was really amazing. I met a lot of new people – the managers, the staff, the riders – and it was great to see all these different cultures. I really love it here. I also got to talk about my program for 2015. I will start the season in the Tour de San Luis and then I will continue in Europe, with the Tour Méditerranéen, Trofeo Laigueglia, Gran Premio di Lugano, Strade Bianche, and Roma Maxima.
– What are your expectations ahead of 2015?
I want to adapt myself to racing in Europe and be helpful to the team. I also hope to improve step by step and get the chance to score some nice results. Whatever happens, I want to enjoy the time spent in the adventure that will come and be prepared for the toughest sport in the world.