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MARBELLA, Spain (VN) — Ian Boswell starts his first grand tour, the Vuelta a España tomorrow in Spain’s simmering south.
The plan is in place: meet mom Dina and brother Austin in Madrid three weeks later. The opportunity is there too: help Team Sky’s leader Chris Froome win the race overall and earn his own contract extension along the way.
The 24-year-old from Oregon will roll down the start ramp Saturday in Marbella with Sky in the team time trial. What is out on the horizon is unknown.
“This has been my objective all year,” Boswell told VeloNews from his hotel room, which he is sharing with veteran Christian Knees for the race.
“I’ve been aiming for this. Once the team presentation gets underway tonight, I think it’ll hit me and feel real. This is a three-week race, something bigger than I’ve ever raced.”
The 2015 Vuelta a España, this year from August 22 to September 13, held its place in Boswell’s planner for his first three years in the professional peloton with Sky. Each year came with its difficulties, but also with its progression.
In a team with stars Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, and the recently departed Bradley Wiggins, Boswell had to fight for his space in one of Sky’s nine-man grand tour teams.
This summer, the pieces fell into place with the Critérium du Dauphiné. Boswell helped deliver Froome to the overall win in southeast France. It would have been too much to ride the Tour, but the Vuelta two months later fit in perfectly into his and Sky’s program.
Boswell is one of nine Americans starting, a record number for the Spanish grand tour. Not only will he ride with Sky’s other eight — “his best friends in the peloton” — but he’ll see regular training partners in the bunch: Larry Warbasse (IAM Cycling), Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), and recent Tour of Utah winner Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale-Garmin).
“I’ve counted the nine, but also eight from Axel Merckx’s program including some foreigners. I raced with many of them as an amateur; it’s good to see some of them and the guys I train with in Nice,” Boswell said.
“My job is similar to the Dauphiné. We have good guys to help with positioning in the bunch — Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees and ‘G’ [Geraint Thomas] — and super climbers like Sergio Henao and Mikel Nieve. I’m going to go back and forth between working in the mountains and pulling on the flats.
“I’ve been climbing pretty well. I hope to be an asset in the mountains, but then I’m ready to work on the flats too.”
Boswell is thinking about his contract and is unsure if his agent is talking only to Sky or other teams.
“The main thing is work on my performance,” he said. “With my best efforts here, a contract will come.”
Knees, a veteran of 14 grand tours, reminded Boswell it was time to head to the presentation. He ended the call on his smartphone and headed to the show, the start of new chapter in his cycling career.