2007 didn't work out the way Tom Danielson had hoped it would. As if it wasn't enough that sponsor Discovery Channel announced that it would stop at the end of the year, and the whole team ultimately ending, too, he had to cope with not only an enduring stomach problem and finally a crash in the Vuelta a España and a resulting shoulder operation.
The year has "been positive and it's been negative," he said in an interview on the Discovery Channel team website, thepaceline.com. "On the positive side I feel I've solved some problems I've been dealing with for a long time. It took a long time to solve my stomach problems and that was brutal. People tell me now they feel bad for me with my broken shoulder but believe me the stomach problem was worse than this. This is so much more defined. It's a broken shoulder and is visible, so it makes more sense to me."
The American rider took an insightful look at himself. "To be brutally honest the one weak point in my career has been my head and it always has been. When my head is really good I'm strong but when it's not so good I am worthless. You can see that in my performances.
"Overcoming all of these challenges since the Vuelta last year has put things into perspective for me. I have a better idea of who I am and what I'm doing and how I can overcome things for myself in the future. This happens to everyone and it was just my turn. So I have learned to put things in perspective, to put my career in focus. It's made me a lot stronger in my head and I needed that. I needed a good knock-down so I could learn to pick myself back up.
One piece of good news for him is that he already has a contract for the coming year, with Team Slipstream. "For me the first and foremost thing was that it is a growing team and a building team. And it's an American team so I like that and I like the riders on it. I look at my career and I see where I've been and where I need to go and realize I need to take some chances to try to get some big results. I need to push it to see where I can go and here's a team that is doing the exact same thing. They want to be at the top of cycling and they're based out of Colorado, too!
"They look a lot like Discovery Channel to me in a younger stage. They have a good budget, good ethics, and good motivation. They want to develop their riders, especially the young ones, to be sure they are well trained and are given opportunities. And the team is getting results now. You always saw them in the peloton and you knew they were good, they were always in the right place, they just weren't getting the wins quite yet. But now they are being pushed a little more and given better tools to get the results."
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.
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