Climber extraordinaire: Q&A with Kenny Elissonde


In your first year as a professional, you won on the infamous Angliru at the Vuelta – do you prefer these super steep climbs?

Actually no, I prefer about a 7-8% gradient. When it’s too steep, like short and steep at País Vasco, for example, it’s not my cup of tea. I like the long climbs when it’s hard the whole day with a lot of climbing.

What’s the most challenging thing about being a lightweight rider?

Crosswinds. Obviously, these aren’t my cup of tea, kind of like sprinters in the mountains. So, yeah crosswinds, and also sprints, aren’t my favorite thing.

You’re one of our new riders for 2020 – what does moving to a new team change for you? 

It’s a different group of people and a different way of working. Each team has their own way of working, its own culture, so really you change everything. Also, obviously, the bike is different, so that’s a big change. You just have to assimilate everything, be a little quiet, and take time to learn how people are and how the team is working. You’re a part of the team, but you still need some time to really settle in, so I’m still in that process. Spending one month on the road like in Australia helped, of course, but since March we have all been apart.

Does a change of scenery bring fresh motivation for you?

I wouldn’t say it’s motivating because I am already motivated, but it is refreshing, and obviously, you can learn a lot by being around new people and a new way of working. Each person you meet has their own background and experiences; when you meet a new group of 60 or 70 new people, you will learn a lot on the bike and off the bike.