Californian Daniel Holloway, aka ‘Hollywood’ was a surprise addition to the ranks of Raleigh, this season.
Known as a man who likes to have fun, his jokes and vast array of “Oakleys for every occasion” disguise the fact that the 24-year old is a quality athlete.
And he’s serious about his role as ‘joker’ – so serious in fact, that for his role of leading the ‘balustrade’ sprints at the Six Days (where a nominated rider leads the string around the fence, hands off or in the ‘superman’ position as dance music pumps) he’d spend hours practicing swooping down the bankings ‘hands off’ on the 142 metre training velodrome at Boulder, Colorado.
He first caught the eye as US novice 500 metre time trial champion on the track in 2003; by 2005 he’d won a stage in the Canadian Tour de l’Abitibi – ‘the junior Tour de France.’
In 2008 he won four US national championships on the track – team pursuit, scratch, points and madison.
The following season saw a fifth place in the tough Mei Prijs in Belgium behind fast man Denis Flahaut, a stage win in the Tour de la Province de Namur and two stage wins in the Spanish Vuelta a Palencia.
The win for which he is perhaps best known came in 2010 when he took the US Elite Criterium Championship.
But 2011 was compromised by illness, albeit he won two stages in the Tour of America’s Dairy Land.
A stage win in the Tour of Mexico was a good start with his new team – VeloVeritas thought we’d better see what he had to say for himself before the UK crit season gets into full flow.
Why Raleigh and not a US team, Daniel?
“It was, is, an exciting new opportunity.
“To ride for a legendary brand such as Raleigh during an anniversary year is awesome.
“To see what I can do in the UK style of crit racing is an exciting prospect and from what I have heard I think I can do quite well.”
What do you think of the UK?
“So far so good, it rains a little more than I am accustomed to but we have great rain gear from Moa and Polaris to keep us dry.
“I live in Derby with similar terrain to back home so that’s nice.
“I am only 30 minutes from the country and hills and an hour from the Peaks, which are pretty amazing. (When it is not raining of course).”
How are surviving with no Rap stations on the radio?
“Ha! I find ways to get newer stuff via the web, but I have DJ Sparks in the house to keep things interesting with all sorts of new stuff.”
The Tour of Mexico stage win – tell us about that one.
“It was awesome for the team, the first one of the year for us.
“We had two podiums before it and a bit of bad luck.
“For me personally it was great to get a win in a tough stage race after the year I had in 2011.”
How did Battenkill (America’s Rutland) go for you?
“Battenkill was a case of bad luck again with where I flatted and, ‘that was all she wrote!’
“It was unfortunate because I felt that I had good legs to help Evan out.”
2011 wasn’t great for you – tell us about the illness ‘staph’ and its effects.
“Staph is something I don’t recommend to anyone.
“I think I picked up in Malaysia in March; it popped up in saddle sores at first for 3-4 months.
“I was put on three cycles antibiotics that got stronger each time.
“The whole time I was racing and digging a huge hole.
“In between racing I was just sleeping and doing nothing just trying to recover.
“It took four weeks of nothing and seven weeks or so one the bike to feel “normal” again.”
You were stagiaire with Garmin, but no contract.
“Yeah, I was quite disappointed with that.
“I was winning and getting podiums in Europe at the end of 2009.
“JV didn’t tell me directly, but I was told that he didn’t think I was ready and I should get some racing in the US.
“Who knows, maybe we will be talking again in the future?”
What were the Bissell and Kelly Benefits teams like?
“Bissell 2010 was fantastic, they had a great race program for me and I won my Pro Crit title with them.
“Since I broke ribs early in the season and with my staph I didn’t do a ton of racing to bond with all of the Kelly guys last year.
“I was still able to get a couple wins and help when I could with the guys I was racing with.
“It was a learning year for sure.”
2009 was a great year for you – who were you riding for and what do you put the good form down to?
“That it was, I split my time with VMG-Chipotle and the US National team.
“I spent a lot of time in Belgium doing longer harder races in the spring, and when I went back for the summer I had learned how to race and my fitness had come up to start thinking about winning over there.
“That type of racing raises your level, for sure.”
Will you be going back to the States for the criterium champs?
“I only want to go back if I feel I have an honest chance.
“It comes at a good time in the UK calendar with lots of crits to get me ready.”
Do you have a coach? – what’s your training philosophy?
“I do not for this year, I messed up a little and never kept up the relationship I had for the previous two years.
“I still have the programs from back then that I have tried to follow.
“I do a lot on how I feel and what racing is coming up.
“If I’m tired I rest, and when I feel good I go hard.
“It doesn’t sound all that serious and professional but that is just basically how it works.”
Your track activity has tailed off, why?
“This last winter was nonexistent because I needed to get back in the road rhythm and attempt to get what I lost all year back.
“I couldn’t honestly tell the guys at the Sixes that I could keep up, let alone not make a fool of myself more than I normally do.”
Did you not think about the Olympic omnium?
“I did, but with the staph there was zero chance of trying to make that happen.
“You sacrifice a lot when you’re trying to qualify and try and fulfil road team duties at the same time.”
Will we see you back in the Six Days for 2012/13? – we miss you!
“I sure hope so!
“I first need to get back on the level so when I contact promoters I can honestly tell them I am ready to race.
“The Sixes don’t lie; they will and do reveal any weakness one may have in form.”
Do you miss the Sixes?
“Do I ever, the environment is like nothing else in cycling.
“To be a part of that is fantastic.”
Do you still have your deal with Oakley? – tell us about that.
“I do, Oakley has been an amazing sponsor.
“Their RX glasses are beyond amazing and play a vital role in my success.
“Now living in the UK and with the conditions always changing I have a ton of different lens depending on what is out there.
“It is not California where I just throw on the ‘Fire Iridiums’.
“I can’t say enough about Oakley and what they stand for as a sponsor and company.”
Did you ever fancy doing the ‘Belgian thing?’
“I enjoyed my time there with the national team and would do that over again in a heartbeat, but I don’t think I could ever do it solo.
“Rolling alone and going from kermis to kermis doesn’t excite me all that much.”
2012 will be cool, if . . . ?
“I stay injury free.
“I would say illness free but the stomach flu got me after Battenkill.
“But it would be cool if I could start putting my hands back in the air a little more.
“It would be cool to help other guys on the team like Bernie, Graham, Evan, Russell win races and jerseys.
“Basically just get a lot of success for Team Raleigh-GAC.”