Evan Huffman spent 2011 tearing up local NorCal races and stepped it up a notch to make mark on the national scene in 2012. Despite not being picked for the U23 World Squad, idiots, Huffman landed a ride with the Astana squad for the 2013 season. Huffman’s bold team choice will take him to the teams base in Italy where he will have to learn a new set of ropes as he gets ready for his first full Euro season. Risk isn’t an issue for Huffman who decided to forgo college and take a a real run at becoming a pro rider. Huffman’s focus and determination to make his mark earned him the respect of his professional competitors and the team at Specialized who helped make the Astana deal happen. Specialized’s support Cal Giant program, is looking like one of the most fruitful relationships in cycling, and the team will hopefully provide a model of other organizations looking to support young men and women in cycling. .
Check out these Past Huffman Highlights
You had a fantastic year by any measure, what does your 2012 “sizzle reel” include?
Winning the Nationals TT was my biggest highlight because I put so much pressure on myself and it felt really good to deliver on those expectations. Gila was of course a highlight as well, but Nationals is always special because you get the title of National Champion. That’s something that everyone can recognize.
What was your oro team decisions process – who were you looking at and how did it work out?
I set a firm goal for myself last winter that I wanted to make my last year U23 really count and go pro for 2013. Cal Giant’s relationship with Specialized has played a very big role in my signing with Astana. Honestly, I didn’t talk with any other teams at all. Specialized assured me very early in the season that I would be taken care of if I showed potential. So… I just focused 100% on my training and racing.
I knew it would be a harder team to get started on a team with a stronger American presence. Now that I’m here and have finished the first team camp, I can honestly say I’m really happy to be on this team and only have good things to say about it. I think I’m going to fit in really well and hopefully continue to improve.
What kind of racing will you be targeting in 2013?
I’d like to do well in some TT’s, but it’s hard to say right now exactly which races I’ll be doing and what results I’m capable of. This first year will be mostly about learning and taking things as they come.
Life in Europe is often difficult for young riders – what is your plan to make it work?
I expect it will be difficult. Personally, the biggest thing I can do is to stay flexible and relaxed. I like to be in control of everything especially when it comes to training so I’m going to have to learn to let go a little bit.
You made a conscious decision to forgo school and really focus on cycling – what was that process like?
It was a very tough decision and a difficult time in my life when I stopped attending college. I think I made the right choice, regardless of my pro contract. I was unhappy and knew I didn’t want to be there. Very few people supported that decision at the time. I think my family and friends are just happy to see all my hard work over the last few years pay off.
What does your next level of cycling success look like?
I’ll consider this season to be a success if I can fully integrate into the team structure. I need to learn all the ins-and-outs of racing, training, and living in Europe. It would be nice to get some results along the way, but it’s really about trying to continue improving.
European home base – where will you be and what does your support network (friends, acquaintances) in Europe look like?
I don’t know a lot of people in Europe. The only rider I know that’s been living and racing over there is [Andrew] Talansky. I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I’ll most likely end up near Brescia, Italy. I’ll be close to several teammates and staff there so it will be good to have people who can help me get settled. Plus that will make it easier for me to learn the language and culture and more smoothly integrate into the team.
What are you thoughts on the Cal Giant Cycling Program now that you are going onto the next level?
I think it’s an excellent program. I owe a lot to Cal Giant and will always have fond memories of my time there. They saw potential in me when I was still relatively unproven and then gave me the tools to be successful and realize that potential. It was just a perfect environment for me. No one ever pressured me or forced me to do anything, but the resources were there for me when I decided I really wanted it for myself.
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