Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the winter training camp of UAE Team Emirates, ostensibly for the launch of the new Colnago V4Rs and to write a first ride review of it, having bombed around the hills behind the Costa Blanca being constantly overtaken by WorldTour pros. The team also put on a media day, where journalists could ask riders about their ambitions for the upcoming season, how they were settling in at the new team.
I decided not to stick around during the rider interviews, and instead, as the sun dipped below the horizon, I wandered up the road a few hundred metres to the entrance of an underground car park that the team had taken over to create a makeshift service course. Here I was lucky enough to shoot Pogačar’s bike for the upcoming season, but while I was there I also took some snaps of the service course itself and chatted to Pogačar’s mechanic, Boštjan Kavčnik, about the new team bikes, what they’re like to work on, and who are the picky riders in the bunch.
WJ: Hi Boštjan, if you could introduce yourself please that’d be great.
BK: Hi, I’m Boštjan Kavčnik, mechanic at UAE.
WJ: And are you Pogačar’s personal mechanic, or do you work with the other riders as well?
BK: All of the mechanics work for him [and all the other riders]. I am coming from Slovenia, from Pogačar’s first team, and I did all the bikes for his team when he first started. He asked me if I’d go with him to UAE.
WJ: An easy choice?
BK: Ha, yes. I then had a talk with my wife first to find a solution and now I am here for my second year.
WJ: Last year obviously you had Campagnolo for the groupset and wheels, so has there been a lot of challenges swapping to new parts; has there been anything particularly difficult?
BK: Of course. We have all new handlebars, wheelsets, and all of the equipment is now Shimano. It’s just the saddle and frameset is the same really, but the V4Rs. We will see how it is tomorrow: We have two rides with the riders and the new equipment, but for now, it’s good. It’s looking good.
WJ: Do you like it more?
BK: For now, when it’s working, it’s good for the mechanics.
WJ: Is anything easier…