Not So Local Riders Q&A - Carlos Verona

Carlos Verona is a Spanish cyclist who currently rides for Etixx-Quick Step. Whilst on holiday in Lucca, Italy, my good friend Bruno Schooling managed to ride with Carlos and persuade him to answer the Mamnick local riders questions. His answers are below. Big thanks to Carlos (and Bruno) for his time and co-operation and Etixx-Quick Step for providing images. 

As a racing cyclist, which results are you most proud of and why?

At the moment I have limited myself to work for others so I have not had so many chances to ride for myself and get results. If I have to say one maybe is the stage in La Vuelta when I was top 10 last year. 

Which are your favourite stretches of road to ride on locally and what is it that you like about them?

Actually I have been living in so many different places during the last 5 years, Madrid (Spa), Barcelona (Spa), Girona (Spa), Lucca (Ita) and La Massana (And). I always try to find quiet roads, without trafic to enjoy as maximum as possible the ride.

When I am in my hometown in Madrid (San Lorenzo de el Escorial) I love to ride Abantos climb. A long mountain but little traffic and in the forest. It is simply wonderful.

When I am in Barcelona I love to go on training to Montseny climbs. It is just 50km from the big city of Barcelona and you can find a really quiet and long climbs where to enjoy a hard but at the same time beautiful ride.

During my time in Girona I loved to go to the road which goes from Tossa de Mar to Sant Feliu de Guixols. The best road of Costa Brava.

And now that I live in the small country of the Pyrinees called Andorra, I like to ride Coll De Ordino. It is just beautiful and the views from the top are awesome.

The same question for roads anywhere in the world?

That´s a good question. Luckily thanks to my job I have been traveling quite a lot during the last few years around the world. If I would have to choose a place where comeback just for some tourism on two wheels would be Basque-land. It is a cycling paradise.

What is your most memorable moment on the bike or involved with cycling?

Be part of a team victory, it is always beautiful wherever it is.

Has racing affected your relationship with the bike? If so, how?

Yes, it does. At the end ride your bike becomes in a job, and sometimes you have to ride also when you don´t want. But I feel really fortunate to be procyclist, so I try to enjoy always as much as possible my ride. No matter if it is raining or snowing. I love cycling now too.

Do you agree with Mickey Goldmill's advice to Rocky that 'women weaken legs'?

Hahha, not really. In my case my girlfriend just make me stronger. 

We are in the midst of a well publicised boom in cycling in the UK at the moment. Has it affected you? Do you have any thoughts about why it has happened and whether it will continue? Do you see any negatives to the increase in popularity?

To be honest, I don´t know so much about this matter because I don´t visit too often UK. Maybe it is because Team Sky, Cavendish, Wiggins, Froome, Grand Depart of Le Tour... I think this popularity increasing just can be positive.

All cyclists, whether they race or not, seem to obsess over the weight of their bikes. Why do you think this is?

It is normal. As ligheter is your bike, faster you can climb. Everyting is about watts per kilogram.

Do you approach riding, or ride your bike, differently now to when you first got into cycling?

Now it is a job, when I started at age of 12 was just a game. The perspective is different but the feeling is the same.

Who has been your favourite pro riders over the years and why?

Pablo Lastras. He´s still ridding for Movistar Team. For me he always has been an example. Always attentive with the young riders, polite, a good team capitan, with more than 20 years of experience in the bunch.

What was you favourite era of professional bike racing?

The present. Present is always the best.

Do you think Bradley Wiggins looks cool despite his long socks or because of them?

Of course, I think whatever Wiggins does is cool. He is an icon.

Mudguards, mudguards and mudflaps or racing bike with clip on guards through winter?

I don´t use mudguards. I never train under the rain, I live in Spain. And if it rains while racing, mudguards are not a solution.

Do you enjoy a cafe stop or do you prefer to ride straight round?

Actually I love the coffee stops. I always do it on my recovery rides (2h max) and on my endurance rides I always do a coffee stop after 2 or 3h training.

Assos, Rapha or neither?

I have not tried it yet. I always ride on my team outfit powered by Vermac, which by the way is very comfortable too.

What is your favorite piece of cycling kit (either something you currently own or have in the past)?

My first WT jersey from Omega Pharma - Quickstep 2013.

Do you prefer to get your head down on the A6, keep a good tempo going on the B roads or get onto the back wacks? What about the rough stuff on your road bike?

Get onto the back wacks!!

What do you think about Strava?

I love it. I think Strave gives the possibility to share your rides with the others, discover new roads and also is a way to mark all the roads where you have been ridding. 

What do you think about Sportive rides?

I like them. I think it is a good way to combine sport, friends, gastronomy and culture. What else you can ask for?

Do you have any cycling pet hates?

Not really.

Are there any cycling traditions that you think have been, or are being, lost as a result of changing attitudes and behaviour? And are we better off or worse off as a consequence?

I don´t think so... bikes has improved, but the essence of cycling is the same. 

Cotton cap or helmet?

This can not be a question!!! Always helmet, safe first!!!

The benefits of spinning a low gear compared to mashing a high gear is often discussed. Putting aside the serious, physiological and mechanical aspects, what cadence you think looks right?

90 rpm. For me it is the optimal one. 

White, black or coloured socks?


Frame pump or mini pump?

Mini pump.

What do you like to talk about when you are on a ride with friends/team/club mates? Do you prefer to keep the subjects lightweight or get your teeth into something contentious or controversial?

I like to talk about cycling news, and I always prefer to keep the subjects lightweight...

Who would be/is your perfect tandem partner? Would you ride captain or stoker?

Would be my girlfriend, but I would ride as capitain :-)

Which three words best describe you?

Constant, worker and human.

Did you used to listen to music before a race? If so, did you have a favourite tune or playlist?

I don´t listen so much music. 

When were/are you most happy?

When I am surrounded by my family and girlfriend.

Who would be your guests at your perfect dinner party (dead or alive)?

hahha this would be Mark Cavendish, and alive, of course!!!

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I like live the present, I would never go back.

When was the last time you cried?

I don´t do it so often, so when I do it is due to personal circunstances that are private.

When did you laugh the hardest?

Listening any history from our sport director Brian Holm... he´s so funny.

Are you the type of person who likes to have a plan? Or do you prefer to wing it?

I love to have a plan, otherwise it costs me everything double. 

If you could edit your past, what would you change?

Anything. Everything happens for a reason.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

Have the bakery in front of my home and not down into the valley. I live in a hill and every time I want to go to the bakery by bike I have to climb a climb of 2km at 8%.

images provided by Carlos Verona / Etixx-Quickstep 

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