It is a long way from Langley to Varese and a difficult journey from mountain biking Canada's outback to stomping a top-flight field in the World Championships time trial, but that is just what Svein Tuft accomplished. The enthusiastic Canadian explained to Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews his journey and plans for the coming season with Team Garmin the day after he made his mark on European cycling with a silver medal performance.
"We are kind of pretty far out of town and so we did not really do anything too crazy. I hung out with all my friends here on the national team. We drank some vino – it was nothing too wild," explained Tuft, 31, of the evening that passed since we last saw him as the happiest looking of the three men on the Worlds time trial podium.
Tuft crossed the line in Northern Italy's Varese a quarter past three in the afternoon with a time of 52:44. He set a provisional best but was quickly topped by Germany's Bert Grabsch. However, his performance held against Sylvain Chavanel, Marco Pinotti, David Millar and David Zabriskie. USA's Zabriskie gave him the biggest scare, but fell nine seconds short.
After Levi Leipheimer rolled in as the final time trialist on the 43.7-kilometre parcours and judges confirmed the top three, Tuft emerged as the day's surprise. He finished second behind Grabsch, who won the 2007 Vuelta a España time trial in Zaragoza and ended the Worlds three weeks later in fourth place. Tuft was ahead of Zabriskie, who the Tour de France's maillot jaune in 2005.
"The Beijing Olympics was a big confidence builder. I then did Tour of Missouri [where he finished third - ed.], and I had a good ride there. It was a good motivator and I came here confident," said Tuft, who even seemed to surprise himself, judging by his grin. One day after, his mind was on returning home British Columbia, Canada, and concluding his season. "I am travelling home to Langley, BC. I will go mountain biking up in the Kootenays."
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