GENT, Belgium (VN) — Ian Boswell rushed to empty his refrigerator and pack his bags when he heard his travel plans. Team Sky had called, asking him to race Amstel Gold, the Giro del Trentino and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“I got the full package!” Boswell told VeloNews via telephone while leaving his base in Nice, France. “Six days of racing over eight days. Afterwards, I’m flying to LA for a 21st Century Fox press meeting, home to Oregon for a few days and then back to support Brad Wiggins in the Tour of California.”
The 23-year-old — the only rider scheduled to race the triple this year — spoke with pride about the upcoming week. In his sophomore year as a pro, he debuts in the Ardennes classics, races he holds highly as he placed second in Liège in 2012 as an under-23 rider.
Boswell’s job is not to win, but to help others do so. He will support Geraint Thomas, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Ben Swift in Amstel Gold, Wiggins in Trentino, and Chris Froome and Richie Porte in Liège.
“I do Amstel Gold, fly to Trentino the next day for a team time trial and three road stages, the next day fly up to Belgium and do Liège. With the U.S., it’s a month-long trip,” Boswell said.
“I don’t mind, my fitness is good. I want to do well in these races in the future anyway.”
Boswell traveled alongside Australian Nathan Earle. Last year, he was in the same shoes as Earle, debuting in the first division and riding with a foreign team. Now, he has his chance to race the Ardennes classics. And he says he feels confident in his abilities to perform.
“The team noted that I’m leaps ahead compared to last year: I’m set up in Europe, I understand how the team works, my role in the team, how my body’s adapted to the training. Last year, I had to fight my body just to get through the training rides and meet the demands of training for the WorldTour. This year, it’s much more manageable for me.
“I know the team and know what’s expected of me. I’ve taken a big step forward by knowing what I need to do to be at the level they want me to perform at. My training’s been spot on and I’ve had consistency.”
Boswell will spend Saturday training on the Dutch and Belgian roads around Sky’s base in Maastricht. Though he rides now in Sky’s black and blue kit, he covered these roads on the U.S. national team at the 2012 world championships.
The worlds circuit used the same famous Cauberg climb that Amstel uses each year. In fact, the Amstel pushed its finish line 1.8km down the road to match the worlds course. Boswell also returned to Maastricht last year to visit the team during its Ardennes campaign and rode the roads again.
“These classics require experience. Like Amstel, it’s inherently dangerous with its turns and the wind. Mathew Hayman rode Paris-Roubaix 10 to 15 times and is still perfecting his way. It’s the same with the Ardennes, just getting experience and building fitness,” Boswell said.
“Sky didn’t get a win in the classics beforehand, but it’s going well. I hope to help the team win in Amstel or Liège. I’m not going for a result, but to be a part of a successful team.”