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Larry Warbasse: ‘My one goal now is to race the Tour de France’

Robyn Davidson
8 Apr 2022

Larry Warbasse on his 10th year as a professional, the biggest change seen in the peloton and downhill ski racing

‘My number one goal for 2022 is being selected for the Tour de France team. This is my tenth year as a pro. It’s starting to get to now or never.’

Even through the stuttering of my spotty internet connection, Larry Warbasse’s intentions are crystal clear.

At the beginning of July, the AG2R Citroën Team rider wants to be on the start line of the Tour de France.

‘Ben O'Connor's really shown that he has what it takes to be up there with the best. Also, we have Benoît Cosnefroy who’ll be pretty good in the first week, so just to be there to support those guys would be really cool.’

As his teammate Oliver Naesen revealed, the French team’s quota means it’s not a given to be riding around France for three weeks.

 

But I imagine it would feel right at home for the man who once spent a month in a French immersion school.

‘When I signed with the team, they told me I didn’t need to speak French. But I went to a French immersion school anyway. Right after I finished, I went to the first team training camp.

‘It was pretty crazy going from about zero to proficient in the month that I was there. It took me about six months to really get comfortable shooting the shit with the team.’

'I've been a pro for 10 years.'

Credit: Tim de Waele via Getty 

A lot can change in the peloton over 10 years. The composition of the peloton, from rider names to ever-evolving team kits, to fitness levels and technological advancements.

Warbasse believes professionalism is where things have changed the most.

‘Every year we've just gotten more professional. When I started, I was probably more forward thinking than a lot of other riders.

‘I was always interested in the science. At the time, I think a lot of guys really didn't care that much.

‘A lot saw it more as a burden as opposed to help. With nutrition, guys would just smack a bunch of pasta and then not eat that much on the bike.

‘But there’s been a lot of progress in terms of knowledge, training and nutrition. All that has just made the entire level of the peloton go up significantly.’

'Cycling [has been] a vehicle to expand my boundaries.'

In his 10 years as a professional, Warbasse raced for BMC Racing, IAM Cycling and Aqua Blue Sport before securing his contract with AG2R La Mondiale, who are now AG2R Citroën Team.

It’s at Aqua Blue Sport that he rode alongside Conor Dunne. The pair spent the most recent cycling offseason filming their Slow Pro Tour, now available on GCN.

‘We did our NoGo Tour when Aqua Blue folded in 2018. That was something planned last-minute and ended up turning into something we really enjoyed.

‘We always intended to do [a tour] again. But life happened, Conor had a baby, the pandemic happened, and we didn't find a whole lot of time for a few years.

‘It was really cool to find an opening last November – we did five Canary Islands in five days and we had a lot of fun. It was actually a lot harder than we expected.’

Warbasse explains the beauty of being a professional cyclist is working on your own schedule, getting the freedom to ride with friends to a bakery near his home or going off to the Canary Islands with your 6’8” former teammate.

This ability to explore is what drew Warbasse to two wheels as a child.

‘As a kid, how far the bike could take you was just so cool to me. You go for a run or a walk, you’ll get about 5k away from your house. I’d ride my bike around the neighbourhood and went so much further than I otherwise could have.

‘Cycling is taking me all over the world. It’s been a vehicle to expand my boundaries. I've been really fortunate.’

'I used to downhill ski race.'

Warbasse at the 2022 Volta a Catalunya. Credit: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno via Getty

Extracurricular activities in the peloton range from the weird to the wonderful. Some spend their time off jumping over barriers in a muddy field while others catch up on the latest Netflix series they’re missing.

‘I started paddleboarding. In the summer I try to get out and do that.

‘When I was young, I use to ski a lot and downhill ski race almost every day of winter. I’ve gone back to doing that a few times this year if I have some free time. It’s something I really enjoy.’



Warbasse is currently on a short break at home in Nice recovering from an illness picked up at the Volta a Catalunya. It seems to be sweeping the peloton in recent weeks.

Next on his calendar are the Ardennes classics: Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and then it’s straight to Romandie.

Credit: Tim de Waele via Getty

From there, he’ll head to an altitude camp followed by the Tour de Suisse – a race in which he previously won a stage with a powerful solo breakaway in 2017.

‘I want to pick up a result for myself too, maybe a stage at the Tour de Suisse or the Vuelta later in the year.’

Larry Warbasse on...

... Nice puns (I avoided any 'Happy as Larry')

'I've heard all of 'em. It is nice.'

... Life mottos

'I didn't have one really until last year because the way I had been living before wasn't that sustainable. I try to enjoy every day that I have.'

... Extensive Uber Eats research

'I’m a bit obsessive when I really decide to focus on something. I do everything 110%. I think that's how I became a pro cyclist.

'Say I want to buy a pair of skis, I have to do hours of research. I always need to make sure my decision is the right one.

'Even if it's like Uber Eats or something, I'll go through reviews for 30 minutes trying to decide which pizza place I want. Like, if I make the wrong decision, I have to live with this for the rest of my life(!)'

Main image: Dario Belingheri / Stringer via Getty Images 

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