Roe treating 2011 as a learning experience

Dr Max Testa with Tim Roe at the BMC training camp in Denia, Spain.

Dr Max Testa with Tim Roe at the BMC training camp in Denia, Spain. (Image credit: Barry Ryan)

For Tim Roe, the last six months have been a whirlwind - but have helped the Aussie put things in perspective. After becoming a member of American team BMC in the offseason, Roe faced up to the realities of the pro racing scene in Europe. It’s hard - and a massive step up. Speaking to Cyclingnews, Roe was frank about just how different riding for BMC is.

"At Trentino, Catalunya and Pais Vasco - I was really surprised at just how hard the racing is at this level." Roe said.

"It’s been a wakeup call as to how just hard these races are. When you look at or whatever and see the results you get no idea how difficult it really is."

"Hopefully [the Amgen Tour of] California won’t be as hard, but I’m treating all these races as stepping stones."

But while it has a been a bit of a shock, Roe feels the support of his BMC team as well as friends and teammates Taylor Phinney, with whom he raced with in 2010 at Livestrong, as well as compatriot Cadel Evans. The pair have made the transition a lot easier.

"The last three months, racing with a pro team it’s just so much nicer; you’ve got team buses, hotels. They make it a lot easier. It’s much more like a job which means you can be in the best shape you can. Everything you want and everything you need they’re there to help and provide - So that’s really good. You genuinely feel like they’re there to look after you."

Asked about his goals for the year, Roe explained that he’d had to revise some of his aspirations after coming to terms with the standard of racing in the top-tier.

"I think for now I’m happy just to try and learn the job and take it from there. I’ll try and improve and hopefully the results will come. I’ll just have to be on the receiving end [of the pain] and suffer my way through it. But the team understands that. They’ve been great, they understand how hard is making the transition to the full European racing scene."

Playing his part in the Amgen Tour of California

Steve Morabito is looking strong and will undoubtedly be the leader of BMC for the Amgen Tour of California, however Roe was not writing himself off getting a chance in breakaway, or even winning a stage.

"I think after the last few races [Tour of Romandie, Pais Vasco and Trentino] Steve’s clearly shown he’s got the legs - and I think California looks like it will suit him a fair bit so yeah, I think he’ll be a main man in the race," Roe said.

"But yeah - if the opportunity arises I’ll definitely go and try and make something of a stage - of course the first priority is the team - and what they want. Either way I’ll look to make the most out of the experience."

After California, Roe will return to Australia for some well-earned rest and relaxation before the start of the second half of his season which is likely to include the Tour of Austria as well as Utah.

Friend’s death casts shadow over California participation

Roe was one of many left shocked following the unexpected death this week of friend and fellow South Australian, Shamus Liptrot. Roe had visited Liptrot in hospital after his accident back in 2007 and had witnessed firsthand the progress he’d made since. The news of his passing came completely out of the blue and made Roe question his involvement with the sport.

"I’m at a loss as to what to really think," said Roe.

"Shamus was a really good mate of mine; I woke up to a phone call from my girlfriend saying Shamus had passed away. I didn’t know what to think, didn’t know what to say - and in the Giro with Wouter [Weylandt] passing away, it’s just been a tragic week. I suppose in cycling these things can happen, but when they do - it can hit home pretty hard," Roe said.

Going into the Tour of California, Roe will be wearing a black armband, along with a number of other pro cyclists, in respect of Weylandt and Liptrot.

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Alex Hinds, Production Editor

Sydney, Australia

Follow @al_hinds

Alex Hinds is a graduate of Economics and Political Science from Sydney University. Growing up in the metropolitan area of the city he quickly became a bike junkie, dabbling in mountain and road riding. Alex raced on the road in his late teens, but with the time demands of work and university proving too much, decided not to further pursue full-time riding.

If he was going to be involved in cycling in another way the media seemed the next best bet and jumped at the opportunity to work in the Sydney office of Cyclingnews when an offer arose in early 2011.

Though the WorldTour is of course a huge point of focus throughout the year, Alex also takes a keen interest in the domestic racing scene with a view to helping foster the careers of the next generation of cycling.

When not writing for Cyclingnews Alex is a strong proponent of the awareness of cyclists on the road in Sydney having had a few close run-ins with city traffic in the past.