After a season of highs and lows, young Australian mountain biker Trent Lowe will be riding the road in the colours of Discovery Channel for 2006. It's a huge opportunity for Lowe, who has been riding the NORBA series for Subaru-Gary Fisher in 2005, and he knows it. Cyclingnews' Les Clarke checked in with Lowe as he prepared for the MTB World Championships in Livigno, Italy to discuss this big development.
After a strong showing at the Tour de Georgia and Redlands Bicycle Classic, Lowe was signed to the Discovery Channel team just last week, adding to the growing list of Australian riders plying their trade with Pro Tour teams. A two-year deal to ride on the team of now-retired Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, rising stars Yaroslav Popovych and Tom Danielson and two-time Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli was an opportunity the 21-year-old Victorian "just couldn't resist."
Riding for the Jittery Joe's squad at Georgia and Redlands, Lowe took the best young rider jersey in the Georgia race, and shortly after this the good folk at Discovery Channel came a knockin'. "They started talking to me after Georgia, and then a bit more after the Tour de France. It all happened pretty quickly. I mean, a year ago, I had no idea this could've happened - it's such a great opportunity," said Lowe.
And like another ex-mountain biker Ryder Hesjedal before him, Lowe is already in the 'family' so to speak, riding for the Subaru-Gary Fisher MTB squad - Discovery Channel and the Subaru team are partners, sharing commercial links through the Trek corporation. Lowe believes this has, and will, make the transition easier, saying, "I'm not holding back with this, and neither are they. The team I ride for [Subaru-Gray Fisher] is linked to Discovery Channel; what has happened with me is similar to what happened with Ryder last year. It's pretty exciting."
It seems, therefore, that the road is now where it's at for Lowe, and he confirmed this. "I'm now one hundred per cent focused on the road. I mean, I'll still get off road for some training and a few races here and there, but for me it's the road now." And he follows good company, with dual MTB World Champion Cadel Evans riding for Mapei and T-Mobile after his switch from off road racing. He's now settled well and winning on the road with Davitamon-Lotto. When asked about comparisons between himself and Evans, Lowe is enthusiastic, saying, "I'd definitely like to aim for it. Road racing is so big, you've got to aim high. It's like the Formula 1 of cycling. I'm really happy I'm able to make the move early in my career, because you never know when you're going to get the chance. I'm definitely excited to be handed such a big opportunity so early."
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