Alessandro Ballan turned professional in 2004 after a very successful amateur career. In his second year as a professional, he achieved good results in the spring classics wining the Trofeo Laigueglia. A year later he proved that he was a real contender by coming third in the Paris-Roubaix and he got second place in Stage 12 of the 2005 Tour de France.
In the 2008 Paris-Roubaix, Ballan came third, behind Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara when the trio entered the velodrome together and he lost out in the final sprint. At the Vuelta a Espa?a he won a mountain stage and wore the leader’s jersey.
Ballan continued riding successfully in 2008 winning the UCI Road Race World Championships. Ballan was involved in the decisive break, from a group of 12 riders, including 2 Italian team mates, Damiano Cunego and Davide Rebellin, Ballan attacked from 1.500 metres out and maintained a lead in the sprint to win by 3 seconds in front of his home crowd.
Ballan was diagnosed with cytomegalovirus (known as HCMV) in 2009 and as a result was unable to contest in the Spring Classics and Giro. In 2010 Ballan signed with Team BMC, joining George Hincapie and Marcus Burhardt as one day specialists and creating a strong backbone for the team.
This year, Alessandro was in Australia for the first time and lead Team BMC as the captain in the Tour Down Under, he was the top placed team rider with an overall 11th. Alessandro Ballan spoke with RC from Bicycles Network Australia (BNA) about the outlook for the 2011 racing season.
BNA: Are you looking forward to racing another season with Cadel and George and the rest of the team?
Allessandro: Yes, last year I did not start very well, because I paid for the change of team. I am looking forward to the Tour de France, I get on very well with Cadel and George and I get to be on a great team!
BNA: Having won Flanders in 2007 and the Worlds in 2008, are you looking to target the Spring Classics again?
Allessandro: It’s one of my objectives this year to race the Classic and Paris-Roubaix
BNA: What would you say does Team BMC do better than any other team?
Allessandro: BMC is on track to become one of the strongest teams, just wait a few years.
When asked about the team bikes Allessandro told us that they will be using the teammachine SLR01 specific bikes for 2011 up to the Paris Roubaix
BNA: Which young riders should we look out for next season? Which riders do you consider to have great potential?
Allessandro: I see my teammate Taylor Phinney being someone to look out for in his first year as a pro. He has a lot of talent and potential and he’s also a very likeable guy.
BNA: Which is your favorite race of the season and why? Is there any race that you haven’t done that you would especially like to do before you retire?
Allessandro: In particular, I have already won Flanders and Roubaix, both are steeped in the history of cycling.
BNA: Power to weight is key what does your typical diet consists of. How do you factor in nutrition to your training plan?
Allessandro: My diet is varied, I eat a little of both, it is important not to exaggerate and over eat.
BNA: Do you prefer to train solo or with team-mates, what do you think the advantages and disadvantages of each method are?
Allessandro: I always train with my team mates, where I live there’s a lot of professional riders, I believe that you can train better when your training with others.
Thanks for your time, good luck in 2011.