Fresh from the Tour of Flanders (Ronde Van Vlaanderen) at the weekend, we talk to Australian, Zak Dempster and look back at the year he won the CiCLE Classic in 2011 as the youngest rider yet, at 23.
Q: Hello Zak, how does the CiCLE Classic compare with races elsewhere in Europe?
Zak Dempster: You don’t often race on dirt roads, so it’s quite different.
Q: How did you hear about the CiCLE Classic?
ZD: It was a goal for the British team I was on and it’s one of the only British UCI races.
Q: Do you remember anything the day you won in 2011?
ZD: Not a great deal, it all happens so fast as you’re focusing on the race and what’s coming up the whole time.
Q: What can people expect?
ZD: Dirt roads and lots of corners
Q: What’s the most demanding section on the course?
ZD: The dirt sections.
Q: How hard a race is it?
ZD: It’s a hard race I think.
Q: What bike were you riding when you won the CiCLE Classic?
ZD: Condor Leggero
Q: How easy is it to adapt to differing weather conditions throughout a race?
ZD: Not that easy throughout a race, you have to choose your set-up before and different riders suit different conditions.
Q: What are the roads like in Australia for training?
ZD: Pretty normal terrain and roads, if I need to train in the mountains then I train there or if I’d like to train on the flat then I train on the flat.
Q: What is it like cycling round the world’s roads?
ZD: That’s a broad question… it’s a nice lifestyle and I like it, but I’m not always taking everything in like a tourist trip rolling around the worlds roads.
Q: How long did it take you to get established as a winning force?
ZD: I won my first race when I was 12 years old!
Q: Who spotted you?
ZD: It doesn’t take one person to spot a cyclist; most of the time it’s a few people that afford you opportunities and you take advantage of them or you don’t.
Q: You have an impressive and varied Palmares, travelling all round the world for races, which race has inspired you the most?
Q: You’re still only 26. Who’s been your biggest influence so far?
ZD: Most of my DS’s have been really good helping me to develop to the point I’m at now.
Q: What is your favourite piece of kit and why?
ZD: Endura summer jersey, because I don’t feel hot in it.
Q: You have already taken part in a number of Tours … The Tour of Britain, California, Vuelta a Espana Norway, Japan, Portugal Turkey, Tasmania and recently got an 8th position in Tour of Oman, & Qatar. Are there any other tours you’d like to do?
ZD: Tour de France.
Q: You’re quite a tall cyclist… where does that help you?
ZD: I can obtain a vast view of my surroundings.
Q: How important is it to have a tactical mind in a race? Is that something that can be developed?
ZD: Tactics are very important, you can develop your race intelligence but experience and confidence counts for much more.
Q: Where does the drive to succeed come from?
ZD: I enjoy winning cycling races.
Q: We’ve added a Junior Men’s (17-18yrs) CiCLE race, based on the senior race, with off-road sections. What do you think about that?
ZD: That’s a good addition.
Q: We’ve added a new women’s pro race (18 May) and sportive (17 May) to our CiCLE Classic family in Thoresby, Notts– any cyclist you’d like to see compete at that race?
ZD: Ellen van Dijk
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a pro cyclist?
ZD: Since I started cycling
Q: What 3 important attributes do you think you have for cycling?
ZD: Sprinting, short climbs, supporting my team
Q: Did you do any other sport that has helped in cycling?
ZD: Australian Rules Football
Q: What sort of things are you learning about yourself?
ZD: I’m not really sure, I guess how far you can push yourself.
Q: How many hours a week do you train and do you keep a record?
ZD: Yes. 25-30
Q: What’s the most memorable thing you’ve seen on a bike whilst racing in all the countries you’ve visited?
ZD: I rode over the Golden Gate Bridge in California last year, that was nice .
Q: What was the very first bike you owned?
ZD: Olmo, when I was 14 .
Q: Any sports people in your family?
ZD: My father did triathlons.
Q: Have you read any cycle related books and have a favourite?
ZD: Domestique ( Wegelius and Southam )
Q: By the end of 2014, what would you like to have achieved?
ZD: Completed the Tour de France as a significant contributor to the success of my team. And have won a professional race.
Thanks for your time Zak.
And for your part in our CiCLE Classic history
Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic
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