The inner workings of post-Tour de France criteriums. An interview with Jurgen Mettepenningen.

My shoes are covered in mud that is roughly the consistency of crunchy peanut butter. The mud is slowly starting to make it's way into my socks and my feet start to feel wet. I try to clean off my shoes against a truck tire, only to realize that they are also covered in smashed up, rotten apples, making me smell like a bottle of cheap salad dressing. I'm in Gavere, Belgium, in the team parking lot of the Superprestige cyclocross race that is held in this town of only 13,000. Attendance is expected to surpass 50,000. But I'm not here to learn about cyclocross. I'm here to learn about the inner workings of post-Tour criteriums. Jurgen Mettepenningen, owner and general manager of the Marlux-Napoleon Games team owned one of these criteriums until recently [along with a Superprestige cyclocross race and a huge outdoor music festival] so I've asked to speak with him on the matter. So while I'm here to learn about these weird pseudo-races that are more WWE than UCI, I've lear something else already instead. At cyclocross races, all interviews are done pre-race in campers and RVs. The insides of those vehicles are pristine, and I'm about to foul one of them up with my muddy shoes. The press officer for another team sees me struggling with the caked on mud and applesauce on my shoes. He points to a perfectly clean white towel by the door of he RV, and tells me to take my shoes off before I go in, rather than worry about cleaning them. He does this in a gentle tone that he most likely reserves for stubborn farm animals or humans who sustained severe brain injuries. Lesson learned.

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The beauty of second chances. An interview with Esteban Chaves.

My conversation with Esteban Chaves starts with a bit of small talk. Eventually, we end up talking about the weather. I mention how terrible the winter was here, with insanely low temperatures and endless snow and ice. Esteban pauses for a bit, and in a calm voice tells me, "these things pass, it's always a matter of having patience, and waiting for the spring to come, because it's just around the corner." 

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From cyclist to police officer and back again. An interview with Dayer Quintana

To many, he will always be Nairo's younger brother. Dayer Quintana knows that, and jokes that there are far worse things to be in the world. Now in his third year with Movistar, the native of Boyaca, is trying to leave his own mark in the sport. I talked to Dayer for an interview that will run in an upcoming issue of ProCycling. What follows are additional questions I asked, in great part because of curiosity I had about certain topics. Namely, current issues within Colombian cycling, people taking credit for his victories, but also how he ended up as a police officer after joining a team in Colombia.

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