Svein Tuft started his professional career in 2002, in the Prime Alliance training. Seventeen years later, he is about to complete the loop since the Canadian will end his career at home in Canada in the coming days. DirectVelo took advantage of the presence of the rider of the Rally UHC Cycling team, former Vice-World Time Trial Champion, on the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, to find out how he has been living in recent weeks as an athlete. high level.
DirectVelo: How do 42-year-old legs respond to a time like this Thursday?
Svein Tuft: (laughs) It was really hard! The start of the chrono was fast, on a beautiful road with back wind. But then … The way back was much more difficult, with the opposite wind. Good … It’s another time in this long career, and one of the last (smiles).
“I HAVE TAKEN BACK”
Exactly, you are currently fighting the last races of your career. In what state of mind are you?
It’s a mix of a lot of different feelings. I do not appreciate too much the end of steps as in the first steps here. It rubs too much … I let young people take the risks. On the other hand, I have to say I have had a lot of fun on this time trial this afternoon (Thursday). It’s a discipline that has always pleased me and the pleasure remains the same as in the past. On the launching pad, it’s still weird. Each time, you tell yourself it’s a kind of last time. It’s particular. There is a kind of nostalgia for leaving the races and on the other hand, I can not wait to start the second part of my life, so to speak. It’s quite strange, the bike has been part of my life so long (he is a professional runner since 2002, Ed).
In this TPC platoon, many riders present are old enough to be your sons!
I’m starting to really realize it and it’s funny. I took a long time to realize. Even at age 38 or 39, I was not in that state of mind, to tell me that I was really the old one of the pack. I was always in my stuff, focused on my results and my role on the team. But this year, I took a step back and I can see that things have changed a lot.
“MORE AND MORE HARD TO LEAVE THEM AT HOME”
Was there a moment, in the last part of your career, when you realized that your legs and your physique were not responding as well as in the past?
In fact, it’s funny because last year, I was still at the level, in WorldTour, with Mitchelton-Scott. In particular, I had a very good Tour of Italy. We ran every day in front of Simon Yates and I still felt great, over 40 years old. But I decided after that that I had to stop. So it was not really physical, but it’s more the lack of family, and the weariness of always going on the races at the other end of the world, for months and months. I have a family, and a little boy now. It’s getting harder and harder to leave them at home.
But you’re still here, in 2019!
This team (Rally UHC Cycling) came to meet me and offered me a calendar that spoke to me a lot. They wanted my experience but they realized that there were some things I did not want anymore. The season went well and this time it’s really the end. I will finish the season in Quebec City and Montreal, at home. It will be very special.
FOLLOW live updates from Svein’s final race in France, stage 5 of the Tour de Poitou-Charentes on DirectVelo. Brandon McNulty is currently in seventh overall after a top 10 performance in the stage 4 time trial and after a string of top 10s, Colin Joyce lies in 11th overall.