How did you get involved in cycling?

I had heard about a cycling team from the United States that was going to be competing in the Giro d’Italia that needed a doctor. At the time, I was working for a group that was providing medical assistance and doctors to cycling teams. Interestingly enough, it was the start of a long relationship of working for Jim Ochowicz and his teams. And it is one that continues through to this day with him and the BMC Racing Team.

Can you share an example of how cycling training and medicine have changed in the last 20 years?

There used to be a period in the beginning of the season when riders were using races for training. There wasn’t such an emphasis on getting points as an individual or a team, so there were races that didn’t mean as much as others. Nowadays, there is a bigger emphasis on preparing for races through the use of training camps and high attitude training. Another change has come with the addition of power meters like SRM, which can measure power, heart rate, cadence, and many other factors which provide lots of data that can be analyzed.

Can you give us an idea of what a cycling team’s doctor does?

There is the continual care of a rider, making sure he is staying healthy, particularly at the races, and tending to problems that might arise during competition: a cold, for instance, or allergies. So having a doctor at the race who can attend to the riders’ needs before and after the races is important. There is also the safety factor that goes into the job. Oftentimes, the team doctor will ride in one of the two team cars in the caravan. At the Amgen Tour of California, for instance, Dr. Eric Heiden was in one of the Acura TSX Sport Wagons every day, monitoring the riders from the car and making sure they were staying hydrated using the ZipVit Sport nutrition. If there was a crash or other emergency situation, he would have been there to make sure the riders were immediately attended to.

You have a training and testing center in Park City, Utah. Tell us about it.

Park City has become a nice training ground for cyclists. It is at altitude, so oftentimes riders from the BMC Racing Team are here to prepare for an upcoming race like the Amgen Tour of California or the Tour of Utah or USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. The center we have allows us to do a wider variety of tests to measure power, intensity and perform medical evaluations. It’s not just professional cyclists who can benefit, either. We have competitive cyclists at all levels come in for testing or to determine what they can do for a winter or seasonal training program.

You’ve worked with so many teams and riders through the years. How have the athletes changed over time?

They are much more in tune with all the tools that can help them in training and racing. Things like heart rate monitors, power meters, the use of scientific tools for better performance, diet, nutrition and exercise. Plus, they have better resources through the teams. { Worthy of Note: For instance, the BMC Racing Team has a performance team that provides expert advice regarding aerodynamics and training for specific events like team time trials. }For instance, the BMC Racing Team has a performance team that provides expert advice regarding aerodynamics and training for specific events like team time trials. Plus, we have a nutritionist who is always monitoring the race food and making recommendations for recovery and proper nutritional preparation. And the BMC Racing Team even has three chefs who travel to all the big races to make sure the food meets our requirements.

Do you have any outstanding memory from your years of working in the sport?

I have two moments that stand out and both are from the grand tours. The first is from 1988 when Andy Hampsten won the Giro d’Italia with 7-Eleven. That was a big breakthrough for the team because we had been competing in the grand tours since 1985, but to win it was a major accomplishment – particularly that year when the race and conditions were so difficult.

The other moment is more recently, with Cadel Evans winning the 2011 Tour de France. It was a crowning moment of achievement for not only Cadel, but the entire BMC Racing Team managers, staff and everyone associated with the program. Like the days of 7-Eleven, it showed how what a team can accomplish in a short time, working together, to achieve a common goal. So that made it very memorable.