American junior Artem Shmidt can’t go to Paris-Roubaix because of his visa: “I only have 90 days”
The American second year junior Artem Shmidt (18) has had a terrific beginning of the season. Usually riding for Hot Tubes, the tall long haired rider performed as a guest rider for the Belgian-Lithuanian Cannibal Team in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne U19. He attacked on the first climb of the day, first with Uzbeki rider Samandar Sultanov, but soon the Uzbeki couldn’t match his pace.
An end to his solo attempt came after 75 kilometres at the front, but Shmidt almost directly went into another move. Finishing sixth after this ruthless effort, he was without a doubt the man of the day next to winner Sente Sentjens. A few days later, once more Shmidt showed he is in a good form. He won the time trial and GC of the 2.1 race Manavgat Side Junior ahead of his Cannibal teammate Vlad Van Mechelen. We spoke to Shmidt himself in Kuurne.
Tell us the story of your day in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
“I was supermotivated to win. Pretty much, I went into the breakaway really early. On the first climb, the Tiegemberg. I wasn’t planning on doing that, but in the end I did and hoped for the best. When I got caught, I was a bit disappointed. But I still wanted to win, so I got into another attack and got sixth place in the end. I did a nice race, but doing a solo and getting caught is not as important as winning the race. The moment when the winner (Sente Sentjens, Ed.) placed his decisive attack was a pretty hard moment to follow, because there had already been twenty more attacks before that. So that was a very strong win from him.”
Were you training with Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on your mind for the last days?
“No, not really, I have been doing more training in the mountains. Only the last two weeks I did longer and flatter rides, which were more like this parcours.”
Can you tell something more about yourself?
“Well, I’m from America. I normally ride for the team Hot Tubes, but right now I ride for Cannibal to be able to start in these European races. I’m a second year junior trying to get some results this year, to be able to move on to the bigger levels next year. I prefer breakaways and short climbs.”
Will you line up for Paris-Roubaix U19 this year? You seem like the perfect type for the race with that strong engine.
“I don’t think so, because I will have to be in America during this time. I am only allowed to stay ninety days in Belgium, since I don’t have a visa.”
Already in your first year, you won the three days of Axel, an important UCI junior race. Your breakaway skills proved useful there.
“Exactly, because in the first stage my breakaway of three riders went to the finish. I won the stage and we took two minutes of advantage on the peloton. So from there on I just had to secure the jersey.”
Who is your favourite rider among the professionals?
“My favourite rider right now is probably Wout van Aert. And my favourite team is Team Ineos. I like Wout because even though he is a big and tall guy like me, he can climb very well. It gives me hope.” (laughs)