The largest cycling race in the world, the Tour de France (TdF) is just days away from the first of 21 stages. This race is a lifelong goal for many cyclists and with only eight spots on the team, getting called up for this race is, for many, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Wahooligan Ian Boswell, of Team Katusha Alpecin, recently earned a spot on the TdF squad.  I sat down with Boswell to discuss how he is feeling about toeing the line for his first Tour de France.

Q: How did you find out that you would be riding in the Tour this year?

A: It was on my schedule at the beginning of the year, but I’m well aware that schedules can and do change a lot throughout a season. After I had a disappointing performance at the Tour of California, I wasn’t sure I’d still be going to the Tour. Luckily, I was able to get all my ducks in a row at the Dauphine. After that, I got a call from the team and was told I’d be going to the Tour. So I’ve known for about a week now.  Since I found out I’ve been pretty cautious in training. The last thing I need to crash out or get hurt on a training ride.

Q: what expectations do you have for your first TDF ride

A: In itself, just starting the Tour is something special. Being a part of the biggest, most well-known cycling race, is incredible and it is something I’ve wanted to be a part of since I was young. I want to achieve something at this race, whether it is a good result or helping a teammate out.

Q: What is your role in the team for TDF?

A: I’ll be riding for Ilnur Zakarin. I’ll try to be his wingman in the mountain stages. Which means I’ll have a bit more freedom to relax on the flat stages. Unless I’m needed to ride for Marcel Kittel during a sprint stage.  

Q: Are any stages you are excited about racing?

A: Well, I’m most fearful of stage 9. It has 22 kilometers of cobblestones and I’m just hoping to avoid getting hurt in this stage. That’s the scary part about the Tour or cycling in general. You could be doing really well or in the best shape of your life, but you end up in a crash on day one or something and your race is over. The stage I’m excited about is stage 12, Alpe d’Huez. While it might not be the most difficult climb of the Tour, I’ve seen and heard about the crowds that line the road. It sounds unreal. I’m really excited to experience that up close. With three big climbs, this stage should be pretty crucial for GC riders.

Q: What are the must-have things for you to get through the long three weeks?

A: I really enjoy having some time to myself in the mornings. Before breakfast, I usually take 30 minutes to make coffee in my room. I’ll read the news and stretch before I start the day. After a stage, I like to speak with people back home and my fiance, Gretchen. She’ll be in the US at our home in Vermont until about the last week of the Tour, then she’ll come to France and meet me in Paris.

Q: What are your plans after the Tour?

A: Well, I race the weekend after. And then I have the La Vuelta at the end of August. After I’m done there, I’ll go back to Vermont with Gretchen and prepare for the fondo we are organizing, The Peacham Fall Fondo. I’m really looking forward to that, but right now I’m trying not to think too far past the race. I haven’t been to Paris, so maybe once it’s closer to the end of the tour I’ll start looking up bakeries and restaurants to go to with Gretchen. But, I don’t want to get too distracted now or too early in the race.

Reese is an avid trail runner and cyclist. When she isn’t out riding gravel roads or running up a mountain near her home in Colorado, she’s drinking hot tea and staring at her French Bulldog, Loaf.

Check out @reeseruland for proof.

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