When Brent Bookwalter crossed the finish line on the first day of the Giro d’Italia, the BMC Racing Team rider had no idea his performance had thrust him into the spotlight.
Bookwalter climbed off his BMC TT01 time machine after the 8.4-kilometer effort to a swarm of media, team officials and even a pair UCI anti-doping chaperones. “What really sticks out is that I didn’t know I had the current best time when I crossed the line,” Bookwalter said. “I had just got done with this hugely anaerobic, totally-depleting effort and all I could think about was continuing to ride a cool down or catch my breath.” Instead, Bookwalter sat in the “hot seat” for nearly an hour to see if his time would hold up. It nearly did – with only Olympic pursuit champion Bradley Wiggins besting him, by two seconds.
Finished Two Grand Tours
The runner-up finish at the Giro would be the highlight of a season that also saw the Michigan native earn a podium spot in the prologue at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Bookwalter finished both Grand Tours he started, while helping teammate Cadel Evans earn the red points jersey at the Giro. “My goal at the Giro was just to get off on the right foot in my first stage in a Grand Tour,” Bookwalter said. “I was nervous and hopeful, but I knew it was going to take every last ounce of everything I had to get through each day and hopefully make it to the end of the race.”
Bookwalter’s offseason has been far from quiet. In early October, he was inducted into the Lees-McRae College Athletic Hall of Fame. Earlier this month he competed in the Iceman Cometh Challenge, a 27-mile point-to-point mountain bike race in Michigan. And this weekend, he is riding in the Miami Dolphins Cycling Challenge to raise money for the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I’ve been mixing riding with some weight lifting and core workouts,” Bookwalter said from his offseason home in Athens, Ga. “Our first training camp is just around the corner.”