Affectionately dubbed "Panino" by his Italian soigneurs, Team Type 1 - Sanofi’s Will Dugan may be mad about sandwiches, but what he’d rather sink his teeth into are a few UCI race wins this upcoming season.
This will be the Vermont native’s third full year with Team Type 1. In 2009, Dugan began racing with TT1 as a stagiaire at the Tour of Utah, eventually signing with the pro continental team in 2011.
Starting his racing season in January, Dugan said competing in the Sun Tour was already an extension of what he thought his regular season was going to be, but on his way home from the Australian race in October, he found out he was also on the roster for Tour of Rwanda, less than a month away.
"So it’s been quite a long season for me actually. It’s about 12 months of training and racing in a row without a solid break, so I’m trying to take it as easy as I can right now. I’ll start ramping it up again when we have our next camp in Italy in January."
With such a grueling program, taking those mid-season rests is imperative to finish up the season on a high note, Dugan told Cyclingnews at Team Type 1’s Tucson-based training camp last week.
"It’s really important that when you want to rest, to take your break and get back to the bike actually missing it."
Going into next season with "some fire and some fuel to burn" is what the 24-year-old plans to do, which he predicts will start in February or March. After racing in the US, Africa and Asia, he hopes that this year will be the year he is able to concentrate on the European calendar.
And with a swiftly evolving team like TT1-Sanofi, he’s excited about his chances to perform with an experienced pool of riders and staff, something he considers "super important."
"Last year, the feeling at team camp was different. Everyone was a little bit reserved and there was some stress. This year, it is a little more relaxed, but you can tell the guys are more professional. We are able to have fun, relax in a less intense way. I feel like it’s going to be a fun group and a group that will be able to work together happily."
Considering himself proficient in stage races without a time trial, Dugan sprinted to a close second in the first stage of the Tour of Korea, eventually taking third overall in a race he highlighted as one of his favorites of the year.
"Of course, it is always fun to win, so Tour of Korea was also really fun for me because I was really challenging the overall there."
Another unique race that offered more than a challenge, Dugan said, was the seven-stage Tour of South Africa last February who placed 22nd overall.
"It was cool because I took a double-decker tour bus the last day I was there to learn a little bit about the apartheid and got a little bit of cultural feeling in Cape Town. It is great to travel around the world," he told Cyclingnews. "You bring back a memory from every race."
And heading toward his 25th birthday next month, Dugan hopes that perhaps, 2012 season will leave him with the irreplaceable memory of his first European UCI race victory.