Bookwalter banks more Grand Tour experience
Prologue ride sees talented American better old hands
Brent Bookwalter might not be a household name in world cycling circles yet but after finishing second in the Giro d'Italia prologue the BMC rider was a dark horse coming into the Tour prologue in Rotterdam.
The American finished a creditable 11th, 35 seconds down on winner Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) but did manage to beat a number of established names such as Bradley Wiggins (Sky), Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) and Andreas Klöden (Radioshack) over the 8.9 kilometre course.
"My ride was okay but it wasn't blistering," he told Cyclingnews at the finish.
"Prologues are all legs, lungs and power aero position. I didn't have the legs that Martin and Cancellara had today but I'm a little stale coming out of the Giro and I'm just getting going again."
Bookwalter was only called into the Tour de France team a week ago, having ridden the first Grand Tour of his career at the Giro in May. He rather unsurprisingly took a break from racing in order to prepare for a crack at the Tour.
"It's funny; people seem to think I'm a prologue specialist but I've never really specifically trained for them or targeted them. In the US I've been good at them but at the Giro I had no specific preparation, it just came through on the day," he said.
"I've always enjoyed time trials and the further I go in my career the more I'd hone in on that but it seems that that time is arriving now."
For the rest of the Tour Bookwalter will turn us attention to gaining experience as well as helping out general classification contender Cadel Evans.
"I want to experience the Tour for the first time and do it with a real general classification contender like Cadel and on a team where you're really rallying around a true contender," he said.
Evans moved from Lotto to BMC at the end of 2009, buying out his existing contract in the process, and according to Bookwalter: "He's teaching the young guys and he's really encouraging and understanding.
"At the Giro none of us could stay with him until the final climb and where some leaders would be really disappointed or angry he knows that we're giving everything we have and he's not trying to burn us out fast. It's great."
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.