Two years ago, Ross Creber was a mountain biker, last year he won the Scottish road race championship.
And this year he’s part of Endura Racing’s continental adventure; he rode the savage Tour of the Mediterranean, sat out Haut Var but will back behind the oars, ankle chains and all, for the Tour of Murcia.
However, when we spoke to him, he was just back from a three hour coffee run from Nice to Monaco and back – beats the snow, ice, cross winds and F des J stamping on the 53 x 11’s.
The Tour of the Med – a hard way to start your year, Ross.
“It’s always a shock to my system when I start the first race of the year, even if it’s a small race in Scotland – never mind the Tour of the Med!”
You sat out Haut Var.
“I was a bit under the weather in the Med and my body was down when I came out of it; I think if I’d ridden Haut Var it would have delayed my recovery – I’m really looking forward to riding Murcia.”
You rode the Majorca Challenge, last year, how did the Med compare?
“Evan and I both agree that it was much harder here in France – stage one was a 55 kph average.
“In Majorca there were parts where it was savage, but a lot of guys were just there to get training kilometres in – a gruppetto would form when it got really hard and the guys at front would race, whilst the rest would ride in.
“At the Med, everyone was there to race!”
What was the toughest aspect for you?
“The cross winds on stage one, they were blowing at 100 kph plus.”
Have you been accepted by the ‘big boys?’
“When I was at Majorca, last year with Plowman Craven, we got a little bit of stick, guys not letting you into the line and such, but here there’s no problem, I think it’s maybe because Alexandre is on the team and he’s a respected pro.”
How were the echelons?
“That’s the first time I’ve ridden in serious echelons, you couldn’t look up, just cling on to the wheel in front, the problem is that if someone cracks three or four wheels ahead – you’ve had it.
“The further up the bunch you are, the easier it is; Alexandre Blain is good in those conditions, he’s the guy to follow – he’s been giving me a few pointers.”
You never rode as an amateur in Europe; that might have prepared you for these race?
“The Med was only my second ever international stage race – I had four years on the UK mountain bike academy, I never really had the opportunity to race on the road; it has made life harder.”
Any faces in the bunch from your mountain bike days?
“Not really, just Scott Thwaites and Jack Bauer from our team – and Michael Rasmussen, of course, I remember when he was world champion.”
How are you taking to ‘living out of a suitcase’ routine?
“It’s pretty hectic, with the transfers and hard racing when you get back to the hotel you just want to ly on the bed and sleep – but you can’t, you have to be organised, get all of your kit sorted out for the next day or it turns into a nightmare.
“But I’m used to having to be organised from my mountain bike days.”
Who’s team joker?
“A lot of the guys, but I guess Wilko is the best, he never lets it get to him – you need guys like him around to keep morale up.”
Who’s on top eating form?
“We’re all pretty competitive there, the food appears – then it disappears!”
Are you a book/DVD/internet man, at night?
“There’s one little room in the hotel where there’s wi-fi, so we all cram in there to connect to the internet, but it’s all pretty sociable, we take a couple of hours over dinner, chatting away – it’s not like we eat then all go back to our rooms.
“After I’ve been on the internet, I’ll watch a DVD on the laptop.”
A hard baptism for you – how’s the head?
“It’s definitely good, Rob Hayles said that he didn’t want us on the top of our form for this race; bearing in mind that one of my goals is the Commonwealth Games which take place in October.
“You’re sitting in the bunch beside some of the best guys in the world and you can see that a lot of them are suffering too – you know that it’s feasible get to their level, it’s not impossible.
“Especially when you realise that many of them had the Tour Down Under in their legs.”
“I’m really looking forward to that; Haut Var was very hard so I’m glad that I didn’t ride, it’s given me a chance to recover from the five hard days I had at the Med.
“Murcia is five days, mixed parcours, hilly and flat with a 20 kilometre time trial.
“But It’s a little scary looking at the start sheet – Radio Shack with Lance and Astana with Contador!”
And your aims for 2010?
“There are three main ones – ride the Commonwealth Games in Delhi; do a good ride in the British Under 23 road race championship and defend my Scottish road race title.”
With thanks to Ross for his time – get stuck in to Lance, over there in Murcia, boy! We’ll be hearing from Endura again, after the Spanish phase of their adventure, good luck guys.
With thanks to Kevin Hague & Endura Racing for the images.