After downing a delicious Chipolte chicken burrito courtesy of Garmin’s Mexican carb and protein sponsor, I had a chance to ask Jonathan Vaughters a few quick questions after the French guy from L’Equipe and Juliet Macur from the New York Times grilled him. Here is the transcript:
TS: Your tweets are pretty funny. Are you writing them all yourself or do you have somebody writing them for you?
JV: (LAUGHS) Oh, no, that’s me.
TS: You’re not trying to out-tweet Armstrong, are you? He’s pretty prolific but not as funny.
JV: (LAUGHS) I think he’s got two million followers — I don’t think I’m quite there yet. I don’t know that it’s a tweet competition. But yes, I’d assume mine are a little bit wittier and funnier.
TS: When you lost Wiggins, you lost a lot of humor. Who’s taken his place in the Garmin team?
JV: It’s got to fall to Zabriskie — he’s our only chance. Brad had a smashing sense of humor — there’s really no replacement.
TS: You don’t’ recruit for that, do you?
JV: No, no.
TS: How’s Robbie Hunter? Is he funny?
JV: Robbie’s funny. But not in the way Wiggins was funny. It makes me sad.
TS: Switching gears, you kinda put the pressure on Zabriskie — this is the year, I think you’re ready, I think you can do it — how are you feeling about his chances? Is he ready and does he believe he can win the race?
JV: Well, Dave is a complex individual. I don’t know whether he believes he can or he can’t. Dave keeps those thoughts to himself. As far as do I believe he can, yeah. The race has to develop in the right way for him because he’s a very unique rider…but if it develops in the right pattern then yes, he can win.
TS: So what is the right pattern?
JV: The race needs to be controlled and it needs to not be overly aggressive because for Dave to win this race it has to come down to the time trial. So the more chilled out the race is, the better it is for Dave Zabriskie.
TS: Based on team strength, how do you view your chances against Radio Shack?
JV: Well, we’re definitely the underdog, without a doubt. But we don’t have to control the race starting from day one so hopefully we can use that to our advantage.
TS: Radio Shack’s obviously a very experienced team but you’ve got Danielson, Zabriskie…
JV: Yeah, but I just think so far this season Horner’s won the Tour of the Basque Country, Levi’s the defending champion. Lance Armstrong has won seven tours. We don’t quite have the results on paper that they do. And I think they have to take responsibility for the race. Whereas we can hang out, nip at their heels for a little while.
TS: So ideal scenario, how close does Zabriskie have to be going into that final time trial?
JV: Pretty close. Levi’s pretty fast. (LAUGHS) The time trial in Los Angeles is suited for Dave. Better than the one in Solvang.
TS: Alright, good luck.
JV: Hey, thanks.