Places in the Italian national team at the World Championships are notoriously difficult to come by. One of cycling’s homelands; the country is often falling over its self with riders to pick from. This year’s road race route contains two challenging cobblestone sections and Daniel Oss (BMC Racing) hopes that his skills on the pavé could be enough to earn him a spot in the team for the first time since 2011.
“Maybe the pavé is not exactly the same as Flanders but the parcours is pretty hard but not really long climbs. It’s like a classic so I think it would be good for me and the national team,” Oss told Cyclingnews at BMC’s training camp in Calpe. “For sure we will arrive in good shape for the team time trial so, in this period, I’ll also be in shape to do the road race.”
Oss will already be over in Richmond with his BMC teammates as they look to defend their team time trial title from Ponferrada. After coming agonisingly close in the first edition in 2012 the American team made a breakthrough last September, beating Orica-GreenEdge by over 30 seconds. The Italian later bought each of his teammates a commemorative ring to mark the occasion.
Stepping onto the podium with a gold medal around his neck will be something Oss will never forget. “It was an amazing moment, perhaps the best. It was thanks to the team, something that we did all together,” he said. “We wanted to win but it isn’t so easy. We constructed each day from a month before, we built this victory. We didn’t have one big man like Cancellara or Tony Martin. Everyone did more than their best for this goal. We are good guys but not really TT champions and our victory is construction around the desire to do it.”
The team will be on home ground this year with the World Championships taking place in the United States for the first time since Colorado Springs in 1986. They say that winning is addictive and Oss is keen to relive the emotions of Ponferrada.
“One main goal for the next season is to confirm the rainbow jersey. For sure it is important and it is in America so we are really motivated. We want to feel the same sensations on the podium.”
The Dubai Tour will mark the beginning of Oss’ third season with the BMC team. The 28-year-old signed for them in 2013 after spending his formative years as a professional cyclist with the Italian Liquigas team. In his later years at Liquigas, Oss was often put to work as a lead-out man for Peter Sagan. A stage win at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and a top 10 at Milan-San Remo showed that he had good potential in his own right.
Moving to BMC gave him access to some of the best riders in the professional peloton and, after two years with the team, he believes that it has paid off. “I think I arrived here after four years with Liquigas. I did some things but nothing special. Here (at BMC) I have to introduce myself to another group. I think now I have more professional respect,” he explained.
“I’ve grown up as a rider, I’ve improved myself and I have more force and more experience. I rode two big tours last year, the Giro and the Tour, that was unbelievable a few years ago but now it is possible. If you ride with champions like Thor Hushovd and Philippe Gilbert, it is impossible not to improve.”
Last season was undoubtedly the most successful yet for Oss with the world title and wearing the leader’s jersey at the Giro del Trentino – a moment made bigger due to Oss residing in Trentino – and riding two Grand Tours for the first time. However it wasn’t all rosy with an early-season injury forcing that he had to miss his favourite time of the year, the cobbled classics, something that Oss is keen to rectify.
“For the new season the classics will be important again. I will start in Dubai and I want to arrive at the classics in good shape. For sure, this period up to Paris-Roubaix is a good opportunity and the whole team has a big motivation for that,” Oss told Cyclingnews. “It’s my dream to win a classic.”