Floris Gerts 'honoured' to be riding for BMC Racing Team
Dutch neo-pro on Tour Down Under and season ahead
Floris Gerts made his debut with BMC Racing at the 2015 RideLondon Classic, finishing in 36th place as teammate Jempy Drucker sprinted to the win. Appearances at a handful of one-day races were complemented by racing Arctic Tour of Norway, Tour of Britain, Tour de l'Eurométropole, and finally the Japan Cup where the 23-year-old was fourth.
It was no surprise then that BMC signed up the Dutchman who first dreamed of a career in speed skating. Gerts made his WorldTour debut for BMC at the Tour Down Under, helping teammate Richie Porte to the stage win on Willunga Hill and second place overall.
"For me personally, it's always hard the first race and especially now the first WorldTour race, which is hard but it is short stages so it's not too bad," Gerts told Cyclingnews of his debut in the top tier of men's racing. "It’s very hard to say, last year I did as a stagiaire some races and they were also WorldTour riders, so I got an impression from that," he added when asked if WorldTour racing met his expectations.
"In the WorldTour the difference between the riders is also very big, the level is very high and completely different to what I am used to."
With the team losing Marcus Burghardt to an elbow fracture, Gerts' responsibilities for the Tour Down Under were increased but he rose to the challenge and ensured the team came away from the race with a win.
"It's already an honour to ride in the team with them and ride in the selection before the Tour Down Under so that was in the first place really special," a humble Gerts said. "For me the goal was to help them and adapt to the group and find my place in the team."
Asked then if the news of Porte's victory made the second ascent up Willunga Hill a little easier following a successful day at the office, Gets explained that "I actually didn't hear it, I tried to do something but I think the gap between my group and Richie was so big I only heard 'kurchhh' [over the radio]. I didn't hear from the spectators on the side of the road so I was really happy that he won in a really impressive way."
While Gerts was on team duty at the Tour Down Under, at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Sunday he will have an opportunity to chase a result.
"It's great to start here, and I can feel what the WorldTour is like and if I can help the team that is great. Now I can I go the Cadel Evans Race in Geelong which will be my first race to try and be on my best, after that I have some time to recover and focus on the Belgian Flanders races."
Having delayed his racing career to finish his bachelor studies in medicine, Gerts is committed to racing for BMC and is quick to state his gratitude for the opportunities granted to him. However, Gerts' place on the team goes well beyond singing its virtues and in the Dutchman, BMC have a potential classics contender on their books for the years to come.
"You always have some ideas," said Gerts of his ambitions for 2016. "Last year I didn't dare to dream but if I would say to everybody that I would perform good in that way, I don't think people would say it was realistic but I really surprised myself in that way.
"You can never say before what you are going to reach but it would be nice to win a race, it doesn't matter which level it is, that would be good."
Asked then if he was inspired by the likes of Orica-GreenEdge's Caleb Ewan winning from the outset on their entry to the WorldTour, Gerts explained as a classics rider he has less opportunity for victory than a fast finisher like the Australian.
"He's a sprinter and I think it's a bit different," he said of Ewan. "I am not a real sprinter. Young sprinters win most of the time immediately when they are really talented like Caleb Ewan at WorldTour level so I don't compare myself to those kinds of guys."
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