Cyclingnews talks with Danny Pate

By Tim Maloney

Things have turned round completely for Danny Pate in just 12 months. At the 2000 Worlds in Plouay the lanky Colorado native was down in the dumps. His contract option with Team Saeco wasn't going to picked up by the Italian squad and he didn't have a ride lined up for 2001. But what a difference a year makes. Pate is leaving the 2001 Worlds with a rainbow jersey: U23 World TT Champion.

"Danny has always had a huge talent and we're glad we could help him redirect this towards our U23 program", USA Cycling's Director Of Athletic Performance Sean Petty told Cyclingnews. "When we talked to him last year at Worlds, we invited him to ride with our program. That way, with Prime Alliance and our program, he could build himself back up and do his best."

Cyclingnews sat down with the newest American world champ at the USA team hotel in Lisbon the night before he headed home to Colorado Springs.

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Medallion man
Photo: © Sirotti
Cyclingnews: Danny, how did you get involved in cycling?

Danny Pate: My dad was a racer and he got me interested in cycling. We used to race the [category] 3's together...

CN: Last year when we saw you in Plouay, you were pretty down in the dumps.

DP: It was that whole team deal with Saeco... they just didn't pick up my option. I wasn't doing too well in Italy.

CN: What happened?

DP: It was kind of a bad situation. I was in a really small town, by myself the whole time. I never knew my (race) schedule and was always the reserve rider.

CN: What happened after last years Worlds?

DP: I came back to the US and finally got a ride with Prime Alliance. We rode better than we thought we would this year... when I came back, no one really wanted me on their team.

CN: What were the key reasons you were able to progress so much this year?

DP: Being on Prime Alliance, I knew my program; what I was doing. I was riding stage races and doing well. Then I went to Europe two times with the (USA Cycling) U23 program. That was really good for me too... I could see where I was at compared to other riders my age.

CN: Did you do anything special to prepare for the Worlds TT?

DP: I'm not that good of a TT rider, but it was a good course for me. I got some good advice from Colby Pierce (former USA hour record holder) about 30 minute sustained intervals. But I didn't get to do the TT's in [Tour de] l'Avenir or GP des Nations because I got sick.

CN: Where did you get sick?

DP: [Tour de] l'Avenir... I almost didn't come to Worlds. I had a bad time there. It rained all the time and I got sick and I really wasn't into the race. Then I got sick again at Catalunya; some kind of food poisoning. I lost a lot of weight; down to 143lbs. But I started to feel better so I rode here in Lisbon. I knew I could do well [in Lisbon] because I had won the prologue and TT in Thuringen [German U23 stage race]... I knew I would go fast.

CN: Where do you see yourself in five years?

DP: Jeez... well, I don't look that far ahead. I just want to go as far as I can, competition-wise.

CN: What will you do in the off season?

DP: I might take some trips with Michael Creed; we were talking about going to Hawaii to see a friend we know... I'm not sure if we'll take our bikes or not. Otherwise I'll stay at home [in Colorado Springs, where Pate has lived since kindergarten] and maybe drive my car around. I never get to drive it; I'm always travelling. It's a '97 Firebird Trans Am... a fun car to drive.

Danny Pate headed out from the USA team hotel near Lisbon with his best friend & Prime Alliance team-mate Michael Creed to meet some of the Dutch U23 riders. Although it is unlikely that Pate will ever race in his TT champion jersey (he will turn 23 next March), the tall Colorado rider should be quite visible at the front of the peloton for the foreseeable future.

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