Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Larry Warbasse hasn’t hit “autopilot” just yet.
Now in his 11th pro season, Warbasse – a former U.S. national champion and Tour de Suisse stage winner – has become a student of the sport with a mission for self-improvement.
“I think I have this big potential, but I don’t really believe that I’ve actually ever met that,” Warbasse told VeloNews. “It feels like I’m on this everlasting quest to reach my true potential.”
Warbasse is one of a handful of U.S. stars that blasted into the pro scene at the start of last decade. He, Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell led a wave of North American talent toward the WorldTour and the trio soon started to bring big things.
Now aged 32, Warbasse saw a career-high with his 2017 tear. Breakaway victory in Suisse came just two weeks before he outsprinted Neilson Powless and Alexey Vermeulen for the stars and stripes in Knoxville.
Six years on from his champion’s season, Warbasse believes he’s still got a lot to give.
“I know I have high physiological values and strong capabilities. My numbers are really good – every time I do a test, I’m one of the best on the team,” Warbasse said in a recent chat.
“But the thing is, I don’t believe I’ve ever reached that full potential. I want to do what I can to reach it, while I can.”
No stone unturned in the push to improve: ‘I don’t want to have any regrets’
Warbasse isn’t sitting waiting on his full potential to deliver itself as he rides into his fifth season with Ag2r-Citroën.
The Michigan-native devours sport science like a lifelong academic and explains research papers with intellectual ease.
“I’m still interested in all the science with training and nutrition because I really want to do everything the best I can possibly do. I want to finish my career knowing I reached my potential, at least for a period of time,” he said. “I just don’t want to have any regrets when I’m finished, you know?”
At the age of 32, Warbasse knows every year counts now he’s tilted past what’s considered the pro’s late-2os peak.
He’s still chasing an elusive Tour de France debut and doesn’t live in the luxury of the multi-year contracts handed to the sport’s biggest stars.
“Maybe if I’d won some more big races I’d be a little more complacent and not as interested in the self-improvement side,” he said. “But I guess I’ve always felt in this constant battle to try to reach the level that should be possible.”
Warbasse told VeloNews he’d most recently been reading research papers about training below the second lactate threshold, and nerding-out on new sodium bicarbonate systems.
The coming months will see Warbasse looking to wield every word of that wisdom into a “comeback season” after a litany of disaster derailed his 2022.
“If I get to the end of my career and I never reached the capabilities that I was capable of – like if I only got to like 70 or 80 percent of my capacities – I’d be really disappointed,” he said.
After his big rides in the breaks at UAE Tour and Paris-Nice, watch out for Warbasse bringing his inner geek to the Italian classics, Ardennes, and Giro d’Italia.