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Q&A: Jonas Orset
« on: November 09, 2014, 14:13 »
Q&A Session: Jonas Orset


Velorooms is happy to announce a Q&A session with Jonas Orset from the China Wuxi Jilun Cycling Team, with which he just finished the Tour of Taihu Lake. Contrary to the other recent Q&As, he will not be present to answer your questions live on here, but you can ask questions throughout next week and he will answer them by e-mail after his season has finished on November 17th.



Like most young athletes, Jonas started his sporting career in soccer before swapping his football for a road bike at fifteen. He first joined the Follo Sykkelklubb, and later the IF Frøy junior team, back home in Norway the year after. He raced in the Norway Cup and came just 200m short of winning his second ever race, the Ullensaker GP.

Jonas' first year as an U23 cyclist came in 2008, still racing for the IF Frøy Team, but he was unable to improve his results as he suffered from mononucleosis. Following his recovery and a solid winter of training, Jonas advanced again through 2009 and 2010. Highlights included his first ever UCI race, the Ringerike GP, and helping teammate Magnus Børresen to the U23 national championship title.

The following years, Jonas took his next steps, racing top U23 races such as the Giro Valle d'Aosta in 2011 and earning a berth on UCI races all around Europe in 2012, when Frøy - Trek became a Continental team under the guidance of new DS Carl Erik Pedersen. That year Jonas finished 5th in the Norwegian U23 Championship and also achieved solid results in the Sibiu Tour and the Czech Cycling Tour.

Jonas' success gave him a choice of teams for the 2013 season and he decided to sign for the Swedish Team People4you - Unaas Cycling, which boasted good links with the Argos Shimano World Tour Team. Jonas now had a great opportunity to prove he was ready to step up but illness struck again and his early results suffered. After a stint of racing in Norway he was diagnosed with "leaky gut syndrome".

Having raced little in 2013, Jonas saw his team fold at the end of the season and he was left without a ride for 2014. Meanwhile he rode in the Norwegian Cyclocross Cup for the first time andfinished 4th overall.

Soon Jonas got an offer from the China Wuxi Jilun Cycling Team in August. Straight into action, he rode the Tour of China, the Tour of Poyang Lake, and the Tour of Taihu Lake, lining up alongside well-known riders including Ivan Stevic, Georgi Georgiev and Ivailo Gabrovski.

Jonas describes himself as an "offensive breakaway specialist" and his goals for the future are to become one of the premier national cyclists in Norway and to get top results in international UCI races. In the longer term he hopes to secure a contract with a World Tour Team and participate in one of the Grand Tours.

For more information, you can visit his website, and check out Jonas' daily race reports on his Facebook page, which provide a fabulous insight into cycling in China. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter too of course.
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  • « Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 20:32 by L'arri, Reason: Proofed ;) »
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #1 on: November 09, 2014, 20:01 »
    Couple of quickies.

    What are the crowds like at these Asian Tour races? Jordi Simon (of Movistar Team Ecuador) posted some pictures from Tour of China I and II and there seemed to be some massive crowds and lots of fan interaction going on, but the stereotyped view of the Tour of Beijing is that the only "crowd" is a policeman every 30 metres. How have you found the crowds and fans in your races?

    On a more personal level, is this short spell at China Wuxi Jilun just a stepping stone to a move back to a European team or could you see yourself staying there for a couple of years?
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #2 on: November 10, 2014, 07:35 »
    Hej Jonas

    Seems to me there a real strong wave of mens cyclists from Norway coming through U23 at the moment,  has there been a real grass routes push or just timing, if a grass routes push what has it been ?

    At U23 RR presentation we got to see how massive the *no U23 was, what are your height and race weight?

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  • « Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 11:57 by just some guy »
    Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #3 on: November 10, 2014, 08:17 »
    Thanks again for the notification, search.

    Just a few questions from my side:

    1. In your blog, you mentioned that you signed a contract to join Wuxi Jilun in January. But your first race for the team was not till recently (Poyang lake, I think).
    How difficult was it to keep yourself in shape in the long period where you didn't ride for your new team? Was it difficult to be motivated to be in shape in that period?


    2. Trots (diarrhoea) can be, and often are, debilitating when staying in a foreign country. especially here in Asia. So, what was it that kept you on the bike and how did you continue to ride in such a situation?

    3. Which do you prefer, cyclocross or road cycling?

    4. Based on your experience, would you recommend the Asian Tour for a younger rider's development?

    5. Of the many countries you've been to, which experience did you most enjoy (both from a racing and a general perspective)?

    6. Your team is one of the more international Continental teams, and even more so for a Chinese team. Do the local riders keep to themselves or is there a good degree of rapport between local and international riders?

    7. On a more light hearted note, a career as a Chinese traffic consultant after retirement?
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #4 on: November 10, 2014, 16:14 »
    Dark Side questions:

    Both Stevic and Gabrovski have significant doping histories. Having ridden alongside them, did you already know that and do you have any thoughts on the career paths of those guys?

    Secondly, in the course of the last season we heard some rumours coming from certain experienced riders about a dearth of anti-doping controls on the Asia Tour. Did you get tested much and did you see any suspect performances?
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  • Cycling is a Europe thing only and I only watch from Omloop on cause I am cool and sh*t
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #5 on: November 12, 2014, 08:46 »
    It must be extremely unusual for a young Norwegian cyclist to sign for a Chinese team - how did this come into being? Was it you who contacted the team or did they make you an offer? And what were your first thoughts about it?



    In your blog you mentioned that the standards for the Tour of Poyang Lake are extremely high, 5 star hotels, big prize money. On the start list I saw that it attracted riders from all over the world - how does that influence the racing itself? And as it is a non-UCI race: are there any doping controls? (if not: how do you feel about it?)
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #6 on: November 16, 2014, 10:23 »
    In your blog you mentioned that the standards for the Tour of Poyang Lake are extremely high, 5 star hotels, big prize money. On the start list I saw that it attracted riders from all over the world - how does that influence the racing itself? And as it is a non-UCI race: are there any doping controls? (if not: how do you feel about it?)

    ...and about the opposite: on your Twitter you said that the riders were scammed in the Tour of Fuzhou - how common is it, that prize moneys are not paid in Cycling (both in Asia and Europe), and what do you think should be done about it?
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #7 on: November 17, 2014, 10:54 »
    thanks to everyone taking part in the Q&A, I have forwarded the questions to Jonas Orset and will let you know once I got a reply
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #8 on: November 18, 2014, 10:27 »
    Jonas Orset has just sent me the answers to you questions. For more information, visit his website, and check out Jonas' daily race reports on his Facebook page, which provide a lot of additional information about the life of a professional cyclist. And don't forget to follow him on Twitter.



    Q&A Session: Jonas Orset


    It must be extremely unusual for a young Norwegian cyclist to sign for a Chinese team - how did this come into being? Was it you who contacted the team or did they make you an offer? And what were your first thoughts about it?

    Jonas Orset: I am for sure the first Norwegian in a Chinese continental team, and as far as I know the first in Asia, so yes, quite unusual. My former team was closing down after some trouble during the season and I was looking for a new team. Actually, I had found myself a new-started Norwegian-Italian team and was just about to sign the contract, but due to a car which didn't start in the cold morning I was forced to do it after the Tour of Poyang Lake, a race I was invited to do by my sponsor. During that stay in China, I read on a Norwegian cyclingnews-site that my team didn't manage to get the expected funds and couldn't make it. I was promised otherwise and didn't even hear it before I read it online. This was in the end of November 2013 and too late to find a new team. I ran to the room of my team manager of the race and talked to him about not having a team for 2014. Already the day after he had managed to get one of the participating teams's manager interested and some weeks later I signed for Jilun Cycling Team. Many circumstances, but I was looking forward to an adventure.


    [On your website you said you did your first cyclocross races last year.] Which do you prefer, cyclocross or road cycling? [And did you consider doing cyclocross more seriously if you hadn't found a new road cycling team?]

    JO: I am a road cyclist and do prefer road races. Last year was the first year Norway had a national cup in CX. It was really fun and great training. And yes, I  though about focusing more on CX if I didn't find a team. This year I unfortunately haven't had the opportunity on racing CX since I'd stay in China, and the season is finished in Norway now. Too bad, CX is awesome.


    Seems to me there a real strong wave of mens cyclists from Norway coming through U23 [level] at the moment, [...] [what factors are involved in that recent upsurge of Norwegian cycling?]

    JO: Yeah, it's really growing well up here. The inspiration of Hushovd, Arvesen and Boasson Hagen (and now Kristoff) and the fact that the Tour is being broadcasted live on the biggest Norwegian channel have been the main reason why many young boys (and girls) want to try the sport. The sport society in Norway is based on the understanding of hard work, healthy nutrition and much rest are the factors for getting to the top. The riders are extremely serious and focused and with more teams even more riders have good conditions for being a full-time cyclist.


    At U23 RR presentation we got to see how massive the *no U23 was, what are your height and race weight?

    JO: Yes, it's great to see the Norwegians blasting it over there :) My height is 176cm and weight 65-67 kg.


    is this short spell at China Wuxi Jilun just a stepping stone to a move back to a European team or could you see yourself staying there for a couple of years?

    JO: Since the Chinese season basically starts in September and end in November it's a great opportunity to increase the length of the season. But Europe is the home of cycling and I need to race good races throughout the year on high European level for maximal development. Therefore riding in China is just a way to increase my season a couple of more months. I will ride in Europe before the summer, and go to China in the fall. I do think this is a good solution for 2015 and maybe even some more years.


    In your blog, you mentioned that you signed a contract to join Wuxi Jilun in January. But your first race for the team was not till recently (Poyang lake, I think).
     
    How difficult was it to keep yourself in shape in the long period where you didn't ride for your new team? Was it difficult to be motivated to be in shape in that period?

    JO: Yes, you are well updated :) I was expecting some races with Jilun in the spring, but they decided to focus entirely on the Chinese season which started this year with Tour of China in the end on August (if you don't count the Quinqai Lake in July, but my team didn't participate there). I did race with my club team in Norwegian races and I did some more races in Holland, otherwise it would have been difficult to keep the motivation and shape. But this way I had many goals before going to China so I had no problem of focusing.


    Trots (diarrhoea) can be, and often are, debilitating when staying in a foreign country. especially here in Asia. So, what was it that kept you on the bike and how did you continue to ride in such a situation?

    JO: "Funny" you would ask that because I just had to cancel the Tour of Fuzhou due to diarrhea. I didn't ride, not because of the risk of sh*tting myself, but of the reason of completely lack of energy. There is the possibility to take pills, such as Loperamid, to stop the "flow." My belief is that if I am that bad, with fever and diarrhea, I would only race if there are many stages to come. If it's a one-day race I wouldn't race in fear of getting even worse afterwards and loose more days of racing later on. If you are expecting you might have to sh*t yourself during a race you'll bring some extra paper in your jersey and stop next to the road when the crisis come.


    Your team is one of the more international Continental teams, and even more so for a Chinese team. Do the local riders keep to themselves or is there a good degree of rapport between local and international riders?

    JO: Yeah, it's a very international team. But we do not have many Chinese riders participating in the races and I guess they keep more to themselves. Actually there are many Chinese riders on the roster I never even met . The foreign riders are the ones racing.


    Based on your experience, would you recommend the Asian Tour for a younger rider's development?

    JO: Depends of the age you have in mind, but for riders over 20 years old that want to increase their season it can be a good idea. But be aware of bad teams, not all of the teams are well-organized and are taking care of the riders if something happens. My impression is that Chinese are not that compassionate as most Europeans. It's always a risk of failure when going to a new continent with different culture, but if you want to increase the length of your racing program it may be a success. I wouldn't choose Asian Tour over European Tour (or good national races in Belgium/Holland/France/Italy) as a young rider who want to turn pro.


    Of the many countries you've been to, which experience did you most enjoy (both from a racing and a general perspective)?

    JO: I have many good experiences, but right now there are two which stand out. The 3rd stage of Glava Tour of Norway 2013 was during the Norwegian national day and was awesome. So many spectators around the course with flags and our national outfit. And they were all in such a good mood.

    The other was the 2nd stage of Tour of China this year in Hanzhong. It was just incredible how many people were watching the race. It must have been a million! And when it finished it was rather crazy how many of them wanted photos with us. I felt like Justin Bieber.

    I love a massive crowd and my best experience must be one of these two. However I've raced many great races and when I really start to ponder I might find other races I like just as much.



    What are the crowds like at these Asian Tour races? Jordi Simon (of Movistar Team Ecuador) posted some pictures from Tour of China I and II and there seemed to be some massive crowds and lots of fan interaction going on, but the stereotyped view of the Tour of Beijing is that the only "crowd" is a policeman every 30 metres. How have you found the crowds and fans in your races?

    JO: It varies a lot. In most of the stages of Tour of China it was rather crazy. Thousands of spectators every day. My teammate said there even was a bigger crowd in Tour of Taihu Lake earlier on, but this year it was not that wild. In Poyang Lake, which is not a UCI-race, there were days with thousands of spectators, and days with almost none. But my experience, on this level, it that there are more spectators than in Europe. (although in WT/HC-races and some races in Belgium/Holland there might be just as many, or even more).


    in the course of the last season we heard some rumours coming from certain experienced riders about a dearth of anti-doping controls on the Asia Tour. Did you get tested much and did you see any suspect performances?

    JO: Yes, you're right, it's a problem. With high prize money and not too many controls it is for sure some riders taking the easier path. Many ex-dopers go to Asia since it's hard for them to find teams in Europe. They usually test 3-4 riders every day in UCI-races so it's not too bad, but still there are quite some suspect performances. I haven't seen anyone taking anything, but when you see some results, for example when 3 Iranians are in top of the podium you must suspect something's going on. Cycling is still not 100% clean yet unfortunately...


    In your blog you mentioned that the standards for the Tour of Poyang Lake are extremely high, 5 star hotels, big prize money. On the start list I saw that it attracted riders from all over the world - how does that influence the racing itself? And as it is a non-UCI race: are there any doping controls? (if not: how do you feel about it?)

    JO: It's correct, the standards of the hotels are insane and you feel like a rock star. The racing is aggressive and everyone want to get away. But the easier courses and short races make a mass sprint very likely. And yes, it's like a war in the final k's. Much more dangerous than in Europe. Big wide roads and easy to get around. The peloton waves from the left to the right and back. Many less experienced riders - and everyone want money. It's like a jungle.

    In Poyang Lake there are no doping controls and it might well be tempting for someone to take a shortcut. However, many of the same riders are riding the UCI-races the weeks after so it sounds like a big risk to take something even though they don't get tested in Poyang Lake. If it was up to me, I would want much more controls even in smaller races. The more controls the better.



    ...and about the opposite: on your Twitter you said that the riders were scammed in the Tour of Fuzhou - how common is it, that prize moneys are not paid in Cycling (both in Asia and Europe), and what do you think should be done about it?

    JO: That might have been misunderstood. I was referring to the suspicion that some of the riders weren't riding clean. If you look on the top of the result list from the 2nd stage I think you understand what I mean. However I do not know the facts, but this looked unrealistic to me...

    I don't know how it is about payout in all Asian countries, but in China there is no problem at all. I heard about some problems in Eastern Europe, but I havn't really experienced big issues myself.



    Both Stevic and Gabrovski have significant doping histories. Having ridden alongside them, did you already know that and do you have any thoughts on the career paths of those guys?

    JO: It's a ethical dilemma for me. I do believe in giving regretting sinners a new chance, however doping should have a zero tolerance and there is really no excuse for the abuse. Both Gabrovski and especially Stevic were people I got a good impression of while talking to them and when I got to know them it's even harder to accuse them for their past. Since they had served their sentence from the UCI they were allowed to race again and when the team invited them I had no choice but to give them a new chance. Since I do not know all the facts in their cases I can't talk for their situation, but in general the doping ban today is way to lax, and dopers should get a much stricter punishment than a 2-year ban. At least 5.


    On a more light hearted note, a career as a Chinese traffic consultant after retirement?

    JO: I hope you are not talking about trafficking Chinese wifes to Europe, because I will for sure stay away form that. :) But to be serious, I am always "holding the doors open" as we say in Norway, because you never know which path you'll end up with. For now cycling is my priority and what I want to do.



    thank you very much to Jonas for taking his time, and for all those brilliant answers
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #9 on: November 18, 2014, 10:47 »
    Interesting stuff. Thanks to Jonas and search!
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #10 on: November 18, 2014, 10:51 »
    + 1
    Interesting stuff. Thanks to Jonas and search!
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #11 on: November 18, 2014, 11:03 »
    thanks so much Jonas.   Indeed Awesome !!!!


    (and thanks to search too  :D )
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #12 on: September 28, 2015, 11:55 »
    Jonas will not go to China again this year. He hopes it will give him a better opportunity to build up a good foundation for 2016, and therefor to achieve better results. The Gooikse Pijl yesterday was his last UCI race of the season

    http://jonasorset.com/blogg/sesongen-pa-hell/
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    Re: Q&A: Jonas Orset
    « Reply #13 on: January 05, 2017, 08:20 »
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