Twice a US national cyclo-cross champion, Bjorn Selander is forsaking his winter ambitions to focus on his new road career in the ProTour with the RadioShack team.
As his friends and former competitors prepare to contest the US 'cross championships in Bend, Oregon, Selander is in Tucson, Arizona to meet with his new teammates and directors for the first time at the RadioShack team camp, and finds missing 'cross to be bittersweet.
"In a way it's kind of refreshing for me - instead of being on, on, on all the time, I can focus on one thing rather than two," Selander told Cyclingnews, looking back on years of combining a road career with 'cross. "I like to give 100% to everything I do, so it makes it easier for me to focus on road. It was hard to do 100% in both."
Selander has already spent a good deal of time racing in Europe for the US national team and Trek-Livestrong, so a European race schedule won't be new to him. "I've been racing with the national team for two years, racing in Belgium the whole time, hardly ever racing in the US."
After a year with Trek-Livestrong, where he placed fifth in the Tour de Beauce, was third best young rider in the Flèche du Sud , and then earned a silver medal in the US Under-23 time trial championships, Selander got the surprise call-up to be on the RadioShack team.
"I had a good year, and everything was just falling into place and then this came up. I had another year with Trek-Livestrong, I could have stayed with them, but [Trek-Livestrong director] Axel [Merckx] told me to take it."
Now with a two-year contract on Lance Armstrong's ProTour squad, Selander is looking forward to learning the ropes of cycling's big league under the guidance of director Alain Gallopin.
"Gallopin is going to be the director for the young guys - and I'm happy to work with him. He's really enthusiastic, and I think he'll be really good for me. He was telling me Alberto Contador, when he was 21, only did 30 or 40 races. So he won't push too hard."
Selander will meet with Gallopin to discuss his calendar for the upcoming season, and while he isn't quite sure what he would like to focus on, he feels his strengths lie in stage races.
"I get better from day to day - I can suffer one day and feel great the next ... When we did the Vuelta Mexico, it was the first race for the whole team, and we were not nearly ready for the race at all. It was the hardest race, and I can't believe we survived. It was 220km days and we had three-hour transfers before and after. I figured if I could get through that, I could get through anything."
Selander is also happy to be on the team with Armstrong, with whom he spent a few weeks in Austin earlier this year.
"I stayed down there for three weeks and actually got to know him pretty well. He's a really nice guy - there's something about being around him, he's just so positive. That's the way I am, too, so to be around him it's a good environment for me.
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