Saturday, February 27, 2010
By Mark Sisson
By now you know I have a biased point of view that rigorous endurance training is antithetical to health. Yes, I competed and loved it for 20 years, so I get the appeal it has for so many, but these days my personal focus is on maintaining the highest level of fitness and health on the least amount of work and sacrifice. I want to play and have fun. Still, I get asked a lot by endurance athletes whether there’s any chance they can continue to compete at a high level while eating and training Primally. I used to think it probably wasn’t feasible if you wanted to be world class, assuming as I did (erroneously) that you just couldn’t overcome the need for copious amounts of carbs on a daily basis without crashing and burning. However, recent research into the concept of “train low-race high” (vis a vis glycogen) and modified approaches to low level aerobic training that focus largely on reprogramming genes to more preferentially burn fat AS WELL AS the use of techniques like HIIT and barefoot training now all seem to show that training and eating Primal could not only maximize performance, but extend your career. If that’s your choice and if you approach it carefully (like Gold and Silver Olympic medalist Simon Whitfield). Since the book came out last June, I have heard from several elite athletes who have not only adopted Primal styles but have improved their performances (and reduced injury, and decreased body fat). Today I thought you might be interested in this “testimonial” from my good friend Jonas Colting, a long-time professional triathlete who has gradually incorporated Primal techniques into his training style.
As to the main question I would say that I’m living as primal as I can, given my profession. I’ve always been a huge advocate for developing health along with fitness but I’ve also accepted that professional endurance athletics (triathlon) is not a health contest per se. In its rawest form pro triathlon is a contest in resilience, pain and fatigue with a lot of stress on body and mind.
Naturally, my training load is way and beyond what’s recommended in the “Primal Blueprint” and I’m surely guilty of being a chronic cardio participant. However, a big part of my distance training would be on the intensity level of that which a normal person would have on a hike or similar. I’m not spending an inordinate amount of time in a carbo burning or lactic acid laden state which so often is the case among many endurance athletes. Rather, after 25 years of endurance training my fat burning capacity enables me to stay primal even at relatively high efforts and speeds.
I’m from a swimming background and now favor rather intense sprint- and stroke challenging workouts to get the most from time in the water. Running is otherwise my favorite discipline of the three and especially in the forest and on the trails with an asymmetric and varied stride that promotes overall strength and a stride with a full range of motion, hence not requiring as much stretching post running.
Over the years I’ve been working a lot on functional strength and posture through various programs and have over the recent years taken this a step further by developing the “Primal Walk”, done in the forest with a mix of barefoot walking in the Vibram shoes and primal strength exercises such as lifting, pulling, pushing, squatting, throwing, hitting, sprinting and so forth.
I always run in very thin shoes and low to the ground and will increase my barefoot running even more with regular runs in the Vibrams, besides doing the Primal Walks.
Nutrition wise I do eat some carefully chosen processed carbs, which is inevitable given the high amount of exercise I’m doing. However, it’s a far cry from the standard among Swedish nutritionist that recommend athletes to eat 10 grams of carb per kilo of bodyweight which for me would mean amounts in excess over 800 grams per day, levels that could be described as downright toxic in my estimation!
I eat loads of eggs (I love the banana-almond butter-egg pancakes featured on MDA), red meat, salmon, avocados, leafy greens, nuts and seeds. I eat sparingly with dairy but I´m generous with butter and drink some whole fat milk as well as some occasional yoghurt. I´m a big fruit eater with my favourites now being pomegrenate, blueberries, mango, citrus and bananas.
I also eat a fair bit of raw foods as in red meat, eggs, fish, milk straight from the farm. I eat some bread, mostly because I’m not really sensitive to gluten and bread is quite easy for me to digest. I can have a bowl of pasta sometimes as well as veggies like potatoes, carrots, red beats and turnips. I love sweets and pastries but mostly refrain from eating them but I’m weak for temptation so I’m terrible at hotel buffets and parties but I’m not into making life hard for myself. I’ll use self control when it’s necessary but I also know when to relax and purely enjoy the taste and feel of a savory dessert or treat.
I stay way clear from the typical athletes’ addiction to sports nutrition like bars, powders, gels and drinks which in most cases really is just candy in a more sophisticated package. I do use some electrolyte drinks on long and hot sessions and obviously for races all rules are off. When applying a “train low-race high” philosophy it would be foolish not to maximize both fat burning and carb utilization. For really long sessions or on the run portion of triathlons I find that Red Bull or soft drinks works wonders with the simple formula of sugar and caffeine.
I work closely with Organic Food Bar, and their products are a great option for athletes to use while training or racing.
I use the Damage Control Master Formula and take two capsules of Quercetin/Vitamin C every day and no other supplements.
My first influence that showed me the right way was the books of Phil Maffetone which I read during the mid-90´s, and they promoted the use of good fats and the dangers of sugars, stress and exercising too hard. Following MDA has further widened my knowledge and added to what I believe is the right way to approach eating and exercising and the framework of these philosophies is what I believe is the answer to having a +15 year pro triathlon career without hardly any injuries or illness and a continued improvement and enjoyment.
This is the message I talk, lecture and write about in Sweden.
Jonas Colting, Sweden
37 years old
2 medals, ITU World Championships, Long Distance
2 medals, ITU European Championships, Long Distance
2 times winner of Ultraman World Championships, Hawaii
Several times Swedish Champion Triathlon
Swedish Champion, Open Water Swimming
2 times winner of Island to Island, hardest one-day race in Sweden
Only person ever to complete the Swedish Classic nonstop in 25 hrs (3 k swim, 90 k roller-skiis, 300 k cycling, 30 k cross country run) including transports between venues.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Team RadioShack’s Chris Horner finished 2nd in the uphill finish in Nuoro in the 2nd stage of the Tour of Sardinia. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) was the strongest of a dozen of riders who went to the final 8 K uphill on the Monte Ortobene. The Liquigas rider takes over the race lead to Horner by four seconds. Jani Brajkovic also put in a good ride, taking 6th from the select group of riders that finished together on the climb. Team riders Ivan Rovny and Ben Hermans came in just after twenty-seconds later.
After the stage Horner said, “I feel good, very good. Even yesterday I could have won if the profile in the race book would have been correct (last K uphill instead of downhill…). Today Kreuziger was stronger. The climb was long but not so steep. Not steep enough for a real climber like me. We had the wind in the back. It was more a finish for riders with the real power in the legs.”
“I am very happy about the atmosphere in the Team,” said Team Director Alain Gallopin. “Everybody works hard with a smile. There is a real good spirit in the Team. Winning or not winning, that’s the responsibility of the rider. We are close again. Maybe as important is the team spirit and that spirit is really good.”
The Giro di Sardegna continues on Thursday with stage 3 which travels 206km/128mi from Nuoro to Oristano in the longest stage of the race. With three stages to go and only four seconds keeping Horner from the leader’s jersey, look for strategy to come in to play on the roads of Sardegna as Team RadioShack hope to move up.
1 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 4:33:37
2 Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack
3 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
As his season debut approaches, Ivan Basso has indicated that he'll be in top condition for this year's Giro d'Italia and will use this weekend's GP dell'Insubria-Lugano as a gauge of his form for the year ahead.
Basso returned to the professional peloton last season following a two-year suspension for doping-related activities, finishing the Giro fourth overall after runner-up Danilo Di Luca was found to have used performance-enhancing substances and subsequently handed a suspension that effectively ended his career.
While Di Luca won't be back at this year's Giro, Basso will, and told Tuttobiciweb, "I'm sure you will find the best Ivan, who can fight with the best both at the Giro and the Tour."
He'll also use the Vuelta a Catalunya as preparation for the Giro, and admitted that while his form at the Spanish race may still be far from optimal, "at the Giro del Trentino and the Giro [d'Italia] I will go better in top condition."
Basso said that last year, "was a very special season with great excitement. I think that racing as much as I did was not a mistake but a choice; the team gave me the opportunity to do whatever I wanted because the urge to race was strong.
"This year the priorities were decided specifically and, eventually, if my condition is still good, there are many other beautiful races that I can do, including the Tre Valli [Varesine]."
He added that this year's Giro course suits him because, "I consider myself a climber and this year the time trials are less influential. Altogether there are nine stages in which an athlete must always be near the front; even if they win another stage they must be consistent and for me, except when I fell ill in 2005, has always been a strength."
Basso admitted that BMC Racing's Cadel Evans, the current road world champion, will be one of the men to watch when he returns to the Giro for the first time since 2002. He also commented on the possible rivalry between himself and fellow Liquigas-Doimo team leader Vincenzo Nibali.
"We must be at the forefront of all races," said Basso. "Nibali has great talent and I think that in five or six years he will be able to gain significant results. But there is difference between a leader and captain; being the captain is not easy to do, being the leader is even more difficult."
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
It was a day for the Italians in the opening stage of the Giro di Sardegna with Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre) taking the victory, followed by fellow countrymen Oscar Gatto and Giovanni Visconti of ISD taking 2nd and 3rd. Gavazzi took the first leader’s jersey as well. Team RadioShack’s Chris Horner put in a late attack but was caught with the finish line just ahead.
Horner explained with, “I went with 1.2km to go. The race profile showed a solid uphill finish but it wasn’t correct and I was caught with 400m to go. Tomorrow is an uphill finish so I’ll look to that.”
“We had five guys in the first group of 45 riders or so,” commented team Director Alain Gallopin. “ Horner attacked near the 1km mark but he got caught near the end. Dima worked hard all day and was only dropped on the last climb. Markel worked well too and came in with the grupetto. Tomorrow the finish is on top, a category one climb.”
Former Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso has restated his intention to form a professional cycling team capable of winning the Tour de France with compatriot and two-time Tour Champion Alberto Contador.
Last year, the two Spaniards had mooted the possibility of collaboration as doubt swirled around Contador's team for the 2010 season. The latter's eventual resolution with Astana hosed down further discussion of the partnership, but in an interview with British newspaper The Guardian published on Tuesday Alonso re-ignited the prospect of a Spanish super-team forming in the next few years.
"It's a project for me – a kind of dream I have because I love cycling. Creating a top team and being in a position to win the Tour de France will give me a nice feeling," said the 2005 and 2006 Formula One World Champion, who took the opportunity to train with Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and several of Contador's Astana teammates during the European winter.
Despite obvious differences between his chosen sport and professional cycling, increasing parallels between the set-up of Formula One teams and their two-wheeled counterparts adds significant clout to Alonso's renewed statement of intent.
However, in spite of his enthusiasm for the project, Alonso's direct experience with the complexities of a high-level sporting organisation will command a patient approach to any cycling set-up. "I know it is not easy to create a top team from zero. You need good riders, good staff, a lot of preparation and, most important, a lot of sponsors. So I don't think we are in the right moment to start a project like this, because of the world economy," he told the newspaper.
Despite the measure of caution, Alonso, who will commence the first of a three-year contract as a pilot for Ferrari this year, hasn't ruled out the possibility of the Contador-led cycling galácticos coming together before the end of his own professional sporting career.
"It is something Alberto and I can work on. As I said I'm very open," he said. "I know this year he is with Astana but from next year onwards, for sure, if there is an opportunity I will be very interested. I think he will be interested as well."
Speaking at the Tour of the Algarve last week, a member of Contador's support team confirmed that the Spaniard is still interested in linking up with Alonso in the future. However, it was indicated that such a move is unlikely to happen when Contador's existing contract with Astana runs out at the end of this season.
Those close to Contador believe that the demands on Alonso's time will be greater than ever now that he is with Ferrari, making it more likely that the 2007 and 2009 Tour de France champion will either extend his current agreement with Astana or look for a deal with another squad. Caisse d'Epargne still looks a strong option, assuming their management can tie up a deal with a new backer in the next few months.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Alberto Contador (Astana) sealed overall victory at the Volta ao Algarve on Sunday as fellow Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) won the final time trial stage.
Sanchez set a time 21:32 for the 17.2km stage from Laguna to Portimao. Contador was slower, with a time of 21:45, but won overall thanks to the precious seconds he gained while winning Friday's second stage. Luis Leon Sanchez finished second overall at 30 seconds, with Tiago Machado (RadioShack) third at 32 seconds.
As expected, Contador was not allowed to use his Shiv time trial bike because of new UCI regulations. He opted for a more standard red Specialized time trial bike instead.
Stage three winner Sebastien Rosseler (RadioShack) was third in the time trial with a time of 21:48. Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) was fourth with a time of 21:54 and Machado completed a RadioShack trio in the top five.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Alberto Contador hammered home his first win of the season atop the Alto do Malhão in the Volta ao Algarve today. His Astana team set-up the two-time Tour de France winner perfectly to claim the mountaintop stage ahead of RadioShack's Tiago Machado and Levi Leipheimer.
With the help of Astana's new mountain domestique, David de la Fuente, Contador pulled away from the peloton on the final 2.7 kilometre ascent to secure both the stage win and overall lead in the race. The result meant Contador went one better than the equivalent stage last year where he finished second to Antonio Colom.
Machado rolled in 11 seconds later, with Leipheimer at 22 seconds - within striking distance for the RadioShack riders to fight for the overall on Sunday's final 17.5 kilometre time trial in Portimão.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
By Bree Wee
All because of a little TWEET TWEET Queen K endured a little rumble on the rock. I'm talking they passed cars, sounded like a train, and scared even the whales further out to sea. It was pretty cool. Before I begin, I like both the guys, not that I'm "friends" with either of them, but I respect both for various reasons and admire them both for various reasons, I'm a Kalani Robb fan if we are being honest.
About 9:35 this morning the rock shook like an earth quake. I had a long ride that turned too fast, and some local crowd support showed up to cheer. Our island is big Lance fans, he supports one of our local canoe clubs so we love him, he keeps the boys in the water. Most the town showed up in Lance shirts and so did the canoe boys, on Trek bikes of course. Then a handful of triathletes showed up hoping a triathlete can take down a cyclist...it was kind of funny to see the "sides". I was mutual and just up for a good show.
Click on the tilte link to go to Bree's site and to read on....
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Alberto Contador returns to competition tomorrow after the longest voluntary rest period of his career, which makes the Volta ao Algarve a race that Astana’s leader has looked forward to with great desire, even though he also says, precisely for that reason, that “I won't have the same possibilities as in 2009, when I won the general.”
You’ve reached the first race of 2010—how are you doing?
I can’t wait. I’m a rider that likes to compete and that’s what motivates me. I think that I’m getting to a good level, but not like at this time in 2009, when I won. I’m fine, but what I’m looking for is doing a good warm-up for Paris-Nice, which I do want to ride to win.
Can you compare how you feel now with how you felt last year?
I feel good, but in 2009 I came from training camp in the United States where I worked really well, but this year there’s been very bad weather in Madrid and I haven’t trained the way I’d like. Anyway, it’s the first race of the year and there’s no need to worry about it too much.
Have you changed your winter preparation or have you continued as in past years?
No, I’ve done more or less the same as in the past, maybe with more long training sessions than in 2009, with the idea of tweaking my weight a little, because I’m still at 63.5 kg, two kilograms above my Tour weight, and it’s noticeable.
How's the route of Volta ao Algarve 2010 for you, better or worse than last year?
It’s very good for a warm-up, but it’s a little worse for me than in 2009, because it’s got a time trial that’s shorter and totally flat, they tell me. Last year’s race was very hard and that allowed me to take some time differences. This year, on the other hand, there are other riders better suited to this route.
What’s the participation going to be like? Who are the favorites?
Lacking confirmation of official bib numbers, I know that Leipheimer, Klöden, Luis León Sánchez, Iván Gutiérrez, Samuel Sánchez and Vande Velde are coming. And you have to take into account, among others, Chavanel, Ezequiel Mosquera and Joaquín Rodriguez, and not forget the riders from the Portuguese teams, who are very good and will have special motivation at home.
Do you want to check how you measure up to your rivals?
No, I only want to check my state of form and how I respond in a race, it’s not a question of making comparisons.
This has been the longest period of time that you’ve ever experienced out of competition, did time seem to drag for you?
Not at all, but starting up again is a handicap because you’re just a shade off the mark, it’s not like I finished at the Worlds. You have to train a lot in order to reach the same point, although there’s a good side to it, too. In the long run, it saves effort and the body appreciates it.
In 2010 do you think that you’ll be able to improve your performance and, if so, in the time trial? In the mountains? Where?
Yes, I think that I’m going to improve. In training sessions I’m very focused on working 100% and I think that I can improve both in the mountains and against the clock. I’m doing some tests and the results are even better that last year. I hope that that manifests itself in competition. (Interview by AC press room)
Lance Armstrong and Chris Lieto at this years Mellow Johnny's Mt. Bike race.
@Lancearmstrong Queen K Hwy TT Challenge. Tomorrow 9:30am. Start - Waikeloa Beach Dr to Kukio Nui Dr. 14 miles. Full gas. Take it easy on me @chrislieto.
@lancearmstrong This won't be a twitter ride. First ever "twitter time trial" love it.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
By George Hincapie
This past weekend was our team training camp in California. It was great getting to meet the rest of the guys and spending some time with them on the bike. We put in several hundred miles in the beautiful area around Agoura Hills. There’s great climbs nearby plus some amazing views from Highway 1. In fact, I’ve enjoyed the riding here so much that I decided to extend my stay to do some solo training in the California sun. It’s a nice break from the frigid temperatures we’ve had back home. (I hear they’re calling for freezing rain in Greenville this weekend.)
After this training block is done, I’m headed back to Europe for the start of my European race schedule. I’ll start off with the semi-clasics Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne in preparation for the big classics in April. BMC has put together a great classics team. I'm looking forward to racing with these guys.
After returning from the Tour Down Under, Lance headed back to central Texas to continue his early season training back at home. With Lance here in the States, they were able to shoot their first commercial with team sponsor RadioShack -- look for it to air in late March to coincide with the Spring Classics. They shot quite a bit out on the roads (despite some unusually chilly weather) and in a local studio on green screen. The shoot went well and they are excited to see their first spot. From Texas, Lance is off to Hawaii to train before heading over to Murcia for the second race of the season.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Dave Zabriskie finished second to Levi Leipheimer in the 2009 Amgen Tour of California but is aiming to go one better this year after stage three and four were announced by race organisers today. Stage three takes the riders from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, while stage four travels from San Jose to Modesto.
However, Zabriskie believes that the final three stages will be critical if he is to topple Levi Leipheimer from three years of domination at the race. Last year Zabriskie finished behind Leipheimer on every stage but was his closest challenger, finishing 36 seconds down in the final overall classification.
"I'd like to be in top form for California," Zabriskie told us from his home in Gerona, Spain.
"I'll see most of the stages through reconnaissance and I'm 100 percent sure I'll check out the time trial on stage seven and the Big Bear stage."
Winning the Tour of California will mark Zabriskie's first major goal for 2010, before aiming to hold his form through until the Tour de France in July. However, the American isn't willing to put all his eggs in one basket. "It's a big goal. There are other ones but this is a big goal for me, the team and a lot of American riders. It's kind of like America's Super Bowl of cycling and it gets a lot of attention. I really enjoy racing it.
"Cali isn't going to be easy but I'll take it day-by-day there and see how I'm going. It's still too early to call. All I know for certain is that those last three days look pretty difficult. The time trial is a little different, too. The last day is really hard; it's one of the hardest days I've seen for a finishing circuit."
Zabriskie is the reigning US time trial champion and believes that racing against the clock could be the one area where he could have an edge over Leipheimer, who has built his three wins in the race on strong performances against the clock. Last year Leipheimer put just eight seconds into Zabriskie in the race's long time trial and less than two seconds in the opening prologue.
"It's hard to say if the time trial will be the most important stage, a lot of things can happen in the race, but most likely it will be important. Levi is a formidable competitor and he can be good on a variety of climbs. However I think he had that time trial in Solvang really dialled in. Hopefully the change of venue in the time trial will lean towards my strengths a little more."
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Are your hormones out of balance? Does your life feel like a song played badly out of tune? If so, the problem may have to do with imbalances in your hormones, which are wreaking havoc on your body and mind.
Today I want to focus on the most common — and therefore the most problematic — of hormonal problems in Americans today: too much insulin.
When you eat too much sugar, flour and white rice, your insulin levels spike. When this happens, your cells become resistant to its effects. So you pump out more and more insulin, become even MORE resistant to its effects, and end up in the vicious cycle of insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance can cause energy and mood swings — AND it can take you down the slippery road toward high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, cancer, brain aging, dementia and more.
Between 80 and 100 million Americans suffer from insulin resistance. It is not exactly the same in everyone, but the ultimate consequences can be similar.
How do you know if you suffer from insulin resistance?
Most people with insulin resistance have extra fat around the middle. (Quick Tip: Check your waist-to-hip ratio — the measurement around your belly button divided by the measurement around your hips. If it is greater than 0.8, you likely have insulin resistance.)
You may be tall, thin, short, fat or any combination of these and still have insulin resistance. The only way to know for sure is to take an insulin response test, which measures blood sugar AND insulin while you are fasting and one and two hours after you consume a 75-gram sugar drink. Just measuring blood sugar alone isn’t enough. You HAVE to measure insulin — this is something that many doctors miss.
Fortunately, balancing blood sugar and correcting insulin resistance are well within our reach. Scientific advances of the last few decades show us how. While some medications can help with insulin resistance, such as Glucophage, Avandia and Actos, they have side effects and are only a Band-aid unless they are used along with a comprehensive nutrition, exercise and stress management plan like the one described below.
12 ways to reset your metabolism for optimal blood sugar
My goal is to make your metabolism more efficient, to make your cells more intelligent and cooperative, not resistant. In other words, you will need much less insulin to accomplish the task of balancing your blood sugar.
You can achieve this by resetting your metabolism of sugar and insulin. To do this, you have to eliminate the things that are knocking you out of balance and provide your body the things it needs to reestablish optimal balance and thrive.
Here’s what to do:
Stop eating flour and sugar products, especially high-fructose corn syrup.
Don’t drink liquid calories in juice and soda. Your body doesn’t feel full from them, so you eat more all day.
Stop consuming all processed, junk or packaged foods. If it doesn’t look like the food your great grandmother ate, stay away.
Stop eating trans or hydrogenated fats.
Slow the rate of sugar uptake from the gut by balancing your meals with healthy protein (nuts, seeds, beans, small wild fish, organic chicken), healthy carbs (vegetables, fruit, beans, whole grains), and healthy fats (olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados, fish oil).
Eat plenty of soluble fiber (30 to 50 grams a day).
Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
Make your cells smarter by giving them an oil change with omega-3 fats, which help fix cell membranes so that they can more readily receive the messages from insulin.
Move your body: Exercise improves your cells’ ability to work better, respond to insulin better, and burn sugar faster.
Relax! Stress reduction also helps improve blood sugar control.
Make your cells more efficient by increasing specific nutrients, such as chromium, vanadium, magnesium, vitamin E, biotin, the B vitamins, zinc, bioflavonoids, and some newer compounds including alpha lipoic acid, arginine and carnitine.
Herbs may also be of benefit. These include Panax ginseng, ginkgo biloba, green tea, fenugreek, gymnema sylvestre, bitter melon and garlic.
Just balancing this one hormone — insulin — can have wide-ranging effects on all your other hormones and brain chemicals and is a great place to start on your path to vibrant health.
Just try these suggestions for one week and see how you feel — you may be shocked at how quickly your body can recover.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
After a purple patch of form at the tail-end of 2009, Garmin-Transitions' Dave Zabriskie says he is more mature and ready to carry on where he left off in the Tour of California and Tour de France in 2010. Zabriskie won the first stage race of his career in September last year at the Tour of Missouri, a victory that came two weeks after he won his fourth consecutive title at the US national time trial championships.
That short period marked a watershed moment for Zabrizkie, who despite glittering displays of talent throughout his ten-year career - and stage wins in all three Grand Tours - had never claimed the overall in a stage race. But his ability to handle the responsibilities of leading a team and a race has given the American more confidence. Zabriskie and his team manager, Jonathan Vaughters, now both believe he is comfortable in the role of team leader – something Garmin hopes will become more consistent this season.
"Missouri was amazing. I always try to win but it just worked out that time," Zabriskie us. "The team were asking me 'what should we do here and there' and I guess I had to make some tough decisions. I had to come to a quick realisation that I was leading the race and they were coming to me for guidance on how I wanted them to do things."
As for his leadership style Zabriskie confessed that he’s not the type to crack the whip, instead opting for a cooler, calmer approach: "I definitely don’t like being told what to do so I’m not going to tell them what to do in the fashion of an asshole. I try to be as nice as possible."
His approach to captaincy will be exposed to further tests this year with the Tour of California shifting from its usual slot in February to May. Zabriskie was second to Levi Leiphiemer in 2009 but is confident that he can bring his best form to the race and then hold it until the Tour de France in July.
"I’d like to be tip top for California and then try and hold that form for the Tour. Cali isn’t going to be easy but I’ll take it day-by-day there and see how I’m going. It’s still too early to call. All I know for certain is that those last three days look pretty difficult. The time trial is a little different too. The last day is really hard; it’s one of the hardest days I’ve seen for a finishing circuit."
Zabriskie's ability to hold that form until the Tour could have a fascinating effect on his season. He has never shone in the final overall of a three-week race but Vaughters has made a habit of propelling talented riders like Vande Velde and Wiggins to the Tour’s top four in the last two seasons.
"I think Dave has grown a lot as a rider. He’s more mature," Vaughters said. "I think as far as a leadership role he really started to grow and become comfortable in his own skin at the Tour of Missouri. He’s never had to defend a race lead like that. The Tour of Missouri and the Tour de France are a long way part from each other but Dave is someone who can climb a lot better than people think and he can time trial with some of the best in the world.
"He’s never put it together in a three week race but he has all the skills. The question is can he put it together for a longer period of time."
Understandably, Zabriskie is playing down such compliments.
"It would be nice, wouldn’t it? But it’s up to me to make that happen. It’s cool that Jonathan has that belief and in me. I take it seriously, for sure, it’s just not that easy to do. I’ll try though."
One area that Zabriskie has ear-marked as a potential boost to his chances is a change of diet, after recent tests conducted by the team revealed he has intolerances to a number of foods. "My body is super sensitive. I’m the worst one on the team and you name it, I’m allergic to it – all dairies, oregano, basil, garlic, beef, pineapple, strawberries, sprouts, beans, sardines, a lot of fishes, the list goes on. I’ve never even know about this stuff and it could make a difference."
Vaughters also believes that Zabriskie can make improvements on the bike, too: "What’s limited him in the past is that he doesn’t necessarily want to concentrate on staying at the front of the bunch day-after-day, that’s very challenging for him to do that. I don’t know if he’s ever had the ambition to do that before.
"First things first, let's worry about the Tour of California and then we’ll start thinking about the Tour de France."