American Peter Stetina is looking ahead to the 2010 season, which he will race with elite Garmin-Slipstream, after Saturday's Under 23 World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. He expects his ability to suffer at the top-level races will be to his advantage, even more so than his experience in the tactic-driven Under 23 races.
"I can go to a dark place and stay there for a while. That's my one quality as a bike racer," Stetina said to Cyclingnews.
Stetina's season and career as an Under 23 rider ended with the 179.4-kilometre World Championship road race, won by Frenchman Romain Sicard. Stetina, 22, benefited from the earlier work of American teammates Alex Howes and Tejay Van Garderen to be the only finisher of the five-man squad.
The elite men will race six laps and 82.8 kilometres more than the Under 23 riders tomorrow. Stetina's future Garmin teammate, Tom Danielson, will lead the American squad then.
"I would tell him to relax, but stay close to the front," said Stetina. "Everyone gets keyed up, but it's a long way to race. We did 26 climbs today, they do 38. Tommy D[anielson] should bide his time and rip it only once."
The Mendrisio course is a technical 13.8-kilometre circuit, with two climbs: Acqua Fresca and Novazzano. The winners in both the elite women's and the under 23 men's races started their ultimately successful moves on the 1.6-kilometre Acqua Fresca.
Stetina covered several key moves and ended the race in 19th with a group of 19 riders at 1:40 behind Sicard.
"It was a hard race for me, I could tell it had been a long season," said Stetina. "I was sitting a little too far back and relaxing multiple times. I had to come around some gaps, and there were no big crashes, but there was a lot of stupid stuff: guys clipping corners. I did not go down, but I paid with each re-acceleration."
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