Q36.5’s Mark Donovan Will get PEZ’d!



Rider interview: Mark Donovan has ridden the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España and has been a WorldTour rider for 3 years and continues to be solely 23. Mark has simply signed for the brand new Q36.5 group, Alastair Hamilton caught up with him on the group coaching camp in Calpe, Spain to listen to the way it was all going.

Q36.5 Donovan
Mark Donovan – Good resort in Calpe

PEZ: So, new group, how’s it been, to date?
Mark Donovan:
It’s been actually good to be sincere. It’s at all times good to have a little bit of a change of surroundings, and, you already know, all the pieces’s new, in order that’s at all times thrilling. However when it comes to all the pieces you need from a group, it’s all already in place. It doesn’t really feel prefer it’s a brand new group. Aside from everybody doesn’t know one another, but. It’s all simply are available from what Dimension knowledge was. So all of it type of clicked into place quite a bit quicker than a very model new group would have been.

PEZ: My subsequent questions was going to be ‘do you are feeling it’s a step down’, however taking a look at all the pieces, the automobiles, bikes and workers, all of it seems to be like a WorldTeam.
Yeah, I used to be fascinated about this at present, is there something that I type of observed that’s completely different? Perhaps the best way they do issues when it comes to the gear and the logistics and all the pieces. The setup has been good, actually. Clearly, you’ve perhaps obtained some type of teething points, extra gear clever. Not as a result of there are downside with the gear, however simply getting stuff. I assume due to covid and since it’s a brand new group and all the pieces is new.

The brand new Q36.5 group Scott bike

PEZ: However you’re on the identical bike as final 12 months, Scott.
The identical, however completely different. It’s nonetheless a Scott, however the foil, I used to be at all times on the addict. So it’s a bit of bit completely different. However I’ve really obtained used to it fairly shortly. 4 days on it now. I used to be type of stunned really, how related it felt, regardless that it’s fairly completely different.

PEZ: The scale are perhaps related.
I’m not positive, however I presume it’s comparatively related dimensions, nevertheless it’s an aero bike versus a climbing bike. So it’s at all times going to really feel barely completely different. However then there are different issues, the primary distinction is the shifting between SRAM and Shimano. You gotta get used to altering gears.

Prepared for one more laborious coaching day in Spain

PEZ: So how did how did the contract with the group come about?
It form of occurred fairly shortly, that’s form of the story of the group, I assume. It type of snowballed, and sure issues began to click on into place. After which it was most likely a bit of bit earlier than the Vuelta, I used to be speaking to the group and my agent Andrew, he was speaking to them and getting a bit of information and at that stage it was nonetheless actually making an attempt to get as a lot data as I can concerning the group. Then once I pulled out of the Vuelta with covid, there was a suggestion there. I favored the thought. And I used to be like, I’m simply going to no less than save myself some sleep and decide to it.

PEZ: You probably did the precise factor if you see how the state of affairs is for some guys.
It’s important to assume that again then it was as a result of it’s a brand new group and when you didn’t know a lot and your considering, ‘proper, is that this gonna be the thought’ as a result of particularly this 12 months, you see what’s occurred with B&B and it may go improper. It’s not very not good for these guys. I do know a pair guys that have been alleged to be on the group after which they have been left excessive and dry. Which isn’t good to see.

Mark Donovan
Mark within the Vuelta’20

PEZ: Have you learnt what you’re doing this season but?
I’m doing Saudi, that’s the primary race. After that, it’s a bit of bit nonetheless undecided. That’s perhaps the largest distinction with this group, as a result of it’s a brand new group, the programme is much more not sure. They nonetheless have performed an important job. I’ve seen the projected plan, when it comes to getting invitations, nevertheless it’s nonetheless up within the air. Plenty of issues can change…. I begin in Saudi in about two weeks time, so it comes round fairly shortly.

PEZ: You would be racing subsequent Sunday (twenty second January) within the GP Valencia:
Yeah, proper.

hollyman donovan
Tour of Britain 2021

PEZ: What are you trying ahead to in 2023? Now that you already know issues out of your earlier years.
It’s good to have a contemporary begin. Not that I want a contemporary begin as that is nonetheless solely the second contract I’ve ever had, nevertheless it’s good to really feel like getting a clear slate. I’ve had some nice expertise in massive races, which was nice the previous couple of years, attending to do the Vuelta and the Tour. You recognize, that was wonderful. Perhaps alternatively, it was nice to do, however I most likely wasn’t going to go there and get outcomes. I feel that the factor I’m actually trying ahead to now is definitely getting caught into races which might be perhaps not Tour de France stage. Not that every other race is. However to really be capable to actually become involved in races and getting caught in and I felt like I could make an influence.

PEZ: Do you assume you rode the Tour too early, too younger?
That’s a humorous one, I don’t assume so. Simply the expertise was price its weight in gold. It was nice to do.

Vuelta’20 stage 11 break

PEZ: You’ve obtained somebody like a Juan Ayuso who was 19 final 12 months when he completed third and there are different guys who gained’t experience a Grand Tour till their late 20’s. Not everybody is similar.
Yeah. It will be silly of me to remorse doing the Tour. You recognize, it’s one thing that may be a childhood dream. And also you by no means know I won’t ever do the Tour once more. You recognize, clearly, you’re not going to be getting outcomes there, however you by no means know. I undoubtedly don’t remorse it. It’s one thing I take into consideration a bit, however you additionally need to take a step again and take a look at your self, I’m nonetheless solely 23, I’m in no rush.

PEZ: It was thought {that a} rider’s greatest years have been between 28 and 32. Now a younger man, like your self, you’ve ridden two Grand Excursions, issues have modified quite a bit. Do you assume it’s tougher for younger guys?
Yeah. Actually laborious. I assume I’ve been fortunate, properly, fortunate in a away. It’s a double edged sword the place youthful guys get extra possibilities, which is nice they usually get contracts with groups, which is nice. However then the opposite facet of that’s, there’s extra stress straightaway. Not that I actually know, however 10 years in the past, when you had for years the place you didn’t actually do a lot, discovering your toes is regular. However now you do nothing for 2 or three years, you’re forgotten and it’s on to the subsequent one.

PEZ: Do you assume your technology will final so long as Valverde, Van Avermaet and Nibali?
That’s a tough one. Nobody is aware of the reply to that. However, I might see the burnout could possibly be quite a bit faster. Perhaps not with everybody.

PEZ: However when you’re full gasoline at 19?
If you happen to simply take a look at it like that, there’s sure to be a extra guys retiring at 30 now, early 30s, reasonably than late 30s.

PEZ: How did you get began?
My mum and pa have been by no means actually into biking, no less than not aggressive biking. They at all times favored biking and have been sporty. And we have been taking journeys and stuff after we have been quite a bit youthful and I assume my mum was at all times very aggressive. So I used to be at all times fairly aggressive with different different sports activities. And I used to run quite a bit, do loads of fell working in within the lakes, all these county gala’s, cross nation and all that. And you then do soccer and all that type of stuff to highschool commonplace. Then I obtained a little bit of an damage with my heels. It wasn’t like I used to be working full time, however I used to be rising, I used to be 13 or 14 and I used to be working a bit and I obtained this damage in my development plates on my heels. That meant I didn’t actually run as a lot, so I simply I began doing a little bit of biking. My first race was a cyclo-cross race and I primarily did cyclo-cross for the primary 4 or 5 years till I used to be a junior, I did loads of that.

U23 Worlds 2018

PEZ: No Grand Tour this 12 months, will you miss it and did your first Grand Tour change your physique?
Yeah, I’d say so. It most likely did. That’s a tough one, it’s all fairly subjective. Mentally, clearly, it mentally does quite a bit. It actually does, when it comes to whether or not I miss it or not, I’m virtually type of considering that I gained’t miss it, no less than for a bit of bit. You recognize, I feel in one other 12 months or twos time, then I’d be actually considering, ‘okay, must get again right into a Grand Tour’.

PEZ: Perhaps after the primary week of it on TV.
Yeah, perhaps. The Grand Excursions are at all times an enormous spectacle. You recognize the Tour is one thing else. Truly, in a means, I’m type of glad that I’m not, you don’t have this one factor that you must specializing in, you’ll be able to really unfold your gaze a bit extra and I feel from a private standpoint, it’s most likely going to do me higher, as a result of you’ll be able to then peak for races that perhaps different guys aren’t after which it’s going to be higher outcomes clever, extra alternatives that’s what it comes right down to. I’ve to be fairly sincere, when you go to a Grand Tour it’s an enormous lottery whether or not you’re going to be even within the race in any respect, after which it’s a complete completely different ballgame that whether or not you’ll really be capable to get ends in phases. It’s so laborious, okay it’s an enormous end result when you do, whether or not or not it really occurs… It’s important to be in actually wonderful form and even when you’re within the form of of your life, you continue to won’t be fairly prepared to really get outcomes.

The Belgium Tour 2022 stage 1

PEZ: Do you assume there’s an excessive amount of climbing within the Vuelta?
Perhaps, that’s my bread and butter I assume, that’s what I love to do. So, for me it’s good, however most likely loads of guys would say, yeah. It’s.

PEZ: You’ve ridden the Tour and the Vuelta, what concerning the Giro, do you fancy that?
I’d like to, I’d actually like to. I hoped I’d have performed it final 12 months. However I had loads of diseases all through the spring/finish of the winter and I hoped to get into the group, nevertheless it’s was by no means actually going to occur. However, yeah, I’d like to.

San Sebastián Traditional 2022

PEZ: What’s your favorite type of race?
Any type of type of any stage races, that type of stuff. Though I do love doing completely different races. So I’m actually to go to Saudi, it won’t be the perfect race for me, nevertheless it’s simply one thing a bit completely different. The group can also be doing Rwanda in February, I don’t know the group for that, that’s a very completely different race. I did the Arctic Race final 12 months. They won’t be the Dauphiné, or one other massive one-week stage race, however they’re simply as fascinating. The factor is now, each race is difficult. Each race is an efficient race.

PEZ: The climate within the Arctic Race will need to have been like Penrith (within the Lake District within the North of England)?
A bit of bit. Yeah. The primary day final 12 months was was fairly depressing, it did remind me of house really.

PEZ: Do you go house to Penrith a lot?
I dwell in Andorra now, like everybody else. I attempt to go house a bit. Not an excessive amount of within the winter. It’s a bit grim.

Tour de France 2021 stage 16

PEZ: Andorra might be unhealthy within the winter.
Yeah, I generally I’ll go right down to Girona, similar to everybody else, simply to get a bit solar, however we’re at coaching camps right now. I do return to the UK. Generally I take a look at my telephone to see what the climate forecasts again house, once I’m someplace like right here. I don’t I don’t miss that. Yeah, it’s a pleasant smug feeling if you see it.

PEZ: What’s the plan to your profession? The place do you wish to be in 10 years time?
I simply wish to take pleasure in it. I don’t really feel like I’m placing an excessive amount of stress on myself, I do put stress on myself once I must, however I simply wish to maintain having fun with it for no less than some time longer whereas I can. I most likely don’t see myself doing it till I’m 40 and even late 30’s. I wouldn’t thoughts doing one thing else whereas I can. There different issues I’m thinking about doing. My mum was a ski teacher, so I’ve at all times liked snowboarding. I’d at all times be thinking about doing one thing alongside these traces, whether or not it’s educating snowboarding, or making an attempt to do this type of stuff. That appears appears a good distance away for the time being, however…

UAE Tour 2021-stage 2 TT

PEZ: What about your profession? You wish to get again to the WorldTour?
After all, however I’ve to be sincere, I’m not a Pogačar or an Evenepoel, however I’d like to be be capable to get caught into races and really go for stage wins. I’ve by no means actually seen myself as a correct GC solely rider, I take pleasure in it and check out various things.

PEZ: Are stage races extra your factor than one-day races?
Something actually, I like someday races as properly. Whether or not or not they’re most likely the perfect factor for me. Perhaps not, however I are inclined to do higher with the longer races and hillier. It’s a tough one, I wish to get probably the most out myself. I don’t wish to no less than type of show to myself that I need to be right here and be a bit extra constant. You’ll be able to’t overlook that it’s a tough sport. Even when you really feel such as you’re not going amazingly, you’re nonetheless knowledgeable cyclists that’s really doing it. Generally you must realise you’re in a little bit of a privileged job.


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