Oregon's promising rider Ian Boswell has signed on with the Trek-Livestrong team for two years, and is looking to turn his luck around after an "unsatisfying" roller coaster ride in 2011.
He was subsequently named him its "breakthrough rider of the year" by one US magazine, while he landed on the front cover of another as Axel Merckx's "handpicked" rider for Trek-Livestrong's 2011 roster. Pretty heady stuff for a rider one year removed from his high school prom.
However, Boswell's chance to repeat or improve upon his performances in 2011 ended with a decision by the UCI which prevented Trek-Livestrong from competing at the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.
He filled the hole in his calendar with a stint in Europe racing with the US national team, including supporting Tyler Farrar at the Olympic test event in London. Although Farrar ultimately crashed in the closing kilometers and Cavendish took the win, Boswell got a glimpse of the World Tour level riding he aspires to, earning special praise from Farrar in the process.
"Riding with the Pro Tour guys is a big step up," Boswell said. "But at the same time it was a lot more controlled than a U23 race. A break went and I went to the front to support Tyler. It was cool to see how dialed those teams are; how they know how to bring the break back at the right time. It was great to race with those guys on the Olympics course, and next year it will be cool to watch the race and see how it unfolds doing nine laps up that climb versus the two we did this year."
Just 21 this year, Boswell will be one of the senior riders on the mostly-intact Trek-Livestrong team in 2012, and now that the team's management has taken steps to separate itself from the new Radioshack-Nissan WorldTour team well enough to satisfy the UCI rule that barred the U23 team from participating in the top US events, he can refocus his goals on the major US races in California, Utah and Colorado.
Boswell said he is refocused and excited to start racing, and has hired a new coach in Hunter Allen at Peak Training Group. He's already been putting in the base miles in Northern California where he's living with his girlfriend.
"I have a super good set up and I'm super motivated for next year," he said. "I'm making sure I'm doing all the right things, whether it's nutrition, sleeping, training, resting, yoga. I'm doing a lot of small things that really count and make a big difference in the end."
With a handful of months remaining before the new season begins, Boswell said he's excited to see what the cycling roller coaster has in store for 2012.
"It will be really cool to return with Trek knowing the program and how it works," he said. "That makes a big difference; knowing guys on the team, knowing how management and directors work. So I'm looking forward to some good team camaraderie next year and getting some good results."
In addition to Utah and Coloraod, Boswell hopes to target the Tour of the Gila and – potentially – the Tour of California as well. Trek will likely start the season officially by splitting up for the first race of the NRC schedule, he said, sending one squad to Redlands while another group travels to Europe.