25 Riders to Watch in 2014 – Petr Vakoc

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Petr Vakoc

This 21 year-old rider from the Czech Republic will be riding for OPQS in 2014-15.

He is stepping up to the world tour after a brilliant 2013, riding for Etixx-Ihned.His best results were:-

2nd in Memorial Philippe Van Coningsloo.

Winner of the 4 stage race, Okolo Slovenska.

9th in the Czech National Championships Road Race, finishing in the leading group of 17 riders.

Winner of the 2nd stage of Vuleta a la Comunidad de Madrid under 23.

2nd in the European Championships under 23 road race.

Winner of the GP Kravlovehradeckeho kraje.

Probably his best performance was in the Czech cycling tour. He was 2nd on stage 3, leading the bunch home after Konig and he won stage 3 with a brilliant uphill sprint. This meant he finished 4th overall.

He can climb well but think he might focus on short,steep finishes .

He works well in partnership with Julian Alaphilippe and it will be very interesting to see how OPQS use both these riders.

Here is an interview I did with Petr:-

What was your best result of the season?

It is hard to pick one, but I think it was the second place at the European Championship. 

You have proven to be excellent on short, steep climbs and longer ones but which type of climb do you prefer?

I prefer shorter climbs, around two, three kilometers.

In the Czech Cycling Tour you were given a textbook lead-out by Julian Alaphilippe, are you pleased that you will again be teammates in 2014?
Yes, I am very happy to stay in one team with him, he is an excellent teammate and also very good friend of me. We have a lot of fun together.

How satisfying was it to beat such a great rider like Konig, on stage 4?

I was so happy to beat him! The stage before he was a bit stronger in the long climb and finished alone in the front, but on the uphill sprint I had a lot of confidence in myself, as those finishes suit me well.

What type of rider do you see yourself developing into in the next few years?
I think I can be a rider for the Ardennes classics or shorter stage races. But I have to see first what I can do in really long climbs. I have never really raced in the Alps or similar mountains.

How excited are you about working with Cavendish, Petacchi, Tony Martin and Uran in 2014?
I am very, very excited! It has always been dream for me to become a Pro and I am so happy that I can ride for one of the best teams in the world and have such teammates!

Which races best suit your abilities?

I have always preferred tough races, where there was a small selected group in the end. Especially hilly races with an uphill finish, but I can do well even in crosswinds or on cobblestones.

What goals do you have for 2014?
I want to gather experiences and to be a good teammate. I don’t have any particular objectives yet.

With the world championships being on a hilly course in Spain, is that a race you could see yourself riding?

As I will be in a World Tour team, I will not be able to start at U23 Worlds any more, but I would definitely like to be a part of the national team at elite category and do a good race.

How do you think you will cope with the pressures of riding for such a great team like OPQS?
It will definitely be more stressful, especially the first races, but I have always dealt well with any pressure. So I think the pressure shouldn’t be a big issue for me, especially if I start the season in good shape, and I believe I will.

 

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