Luke Plapp has shown great quality at just 21 years old. This member of Ineos Grenadiers is on tour in the Vuelta a Espana. Even from his debut last year, it was clear what kind of talent he was. His body is not used to such demanding challenges as the Vuelta e Espana.
“In the last two years I’ve had about 40 race days and 30 of them have come from this year, so I’m almost doubling that in the next three weeks. I can definitely feel it, it’s a different level,” he told VeloNews.
“Being able to do this now is just going to set me up so well for the next few years. It’s shocked me what the level has been like but at least I know what to expect next year and can prepare it a little bit better,” he added.
“It’s a difficult one because usually it’s one that I’d like to target and I did have my eye on it for quite a while but being my first grand tour it’s taken a toll on my body and I’m pretty cooked.
I’m soaking up today’s rest day as much as possible and I think I’ll be doing the same tomorrow and just trying to get through it so I can help the boys in the second and third weeks. “It’s just been about backing it up after the seven days.
That’s not something my body is used to doing. Romandie was the longest race I’ve ever done and we’re two days past that and with two weeks still to go. It’s been about building up the fatigue in the body and then being able to push through that.
I wouldn’t say that the level or power is any different to Romandie or Catalunya but it’s just about doing that after a week in the legs”.
There is a great atmosphere in the team, and everyone wants to support each other.
It is this team spirit that makes them so special as a team. “It’s almost a different sport compared to the last 10 years of my life, comparing cycling to a grand tour. I’m just going to try and get through it and then try and help the guys as much as I can later on in the race.
I don’t have the climbing legs that I would have liked but I can do what I can for them,” Plapp said. “Even though we’re not all debutants the morale is still super high. Even Carlos or Ethan, it’s their third year in the peloton, so it’s not like they are brand new to it.
So it’s nice to be able to draw experience from them but at the same time look at each other and just be shocked by the fatigue levels that we have after each day. It’s pretty special to be seeing Carlos doing so well.
I get a great boost coming to the finish 20 minutes after they’ve finished to hear that he’s fourth on GC. We’re not speaking about podiums but we’re coming down to his home roads and I think that he’s super motivated.
He’s quiet but he’s got confidence about himself. Once he gets through the TT I think he’s really going to shine. We’ve all got confidence in him”.