Tom Southam Interview
Interview with a young British rider in a small Italian pro team.
possible. During my first year on the continent full time, I think I got ahead of myself and didn?t really appreciate how young I was (20). I worked so hard in the winter, only to simply not be physically strong enough against the top French amateurs. It got to me a bit that, but you have to develop at your own speed and not compare yourself to others. Then again in 2003 in the late summer, nothing was really happening, I kept on keeping on because I had the worlds as a goal, but sometimes a contract seems so far away.
IM: How does it feel to now find yourself in a pro team? Is it everything you expected?
TS: I think here is almost better than I expected but as a small team I knew where I was going and how it would be run. I'd done a fair bit of racing with pro's so you kind of see inside and know what it'll be like. But Amore e vita as such a well established team runs pretty smoothly. But I'd expect a lot more if I were in a real big team like CSC or something.
IM: You?ve now had several months to settle into life as a pro. Has there been much adjustment from your time as an amateur? How are you coping with the racing?
TS: It's the same adjustment you have to keep making in your career I think. You go from Juvenile to Junior, Junior to U23 and so on. Every time you go up a category unless you?re really special you go back to the bottom of the pile. What would have been the legs to win you a race, as an amateur might be enough to get you into the top 30 in a pro race. But it's actually more the adjustment to the racing being your job and having to go here or there to do a stage race when perhaps not in the best physical condition to deal with it. I really felt this at the Giro di Trentino, I was still a long way from my best form as I was coming back from a crash, and I had to race it. Getting up everyday and facing a hiding in the gruppetto is grim, unless you can just accept that's where you are and the form will arrive from all the suffering.
IM: You?ve signed for two years with the Italian Amore e Vita team. What do you hope to achieve in this time? Have you been given much freedom by the team to allow you to adapt to the demands of the professional peloton?
TS: Yes and no, it's a different situation with a small team that doesn't do any of the classics or a major tour in that none of the racing is really beyond me. The team had already seen I was capable of handling myself in the pro bunch at the back end of last year so they expect me