Brian Stephens was a professional road racer until 1991. He immediately switched from riding to coaching. These days, Brian is responsible for coaching nine Team Sunweb riders. We asked him the Five Prologue Questions:
1. What is your favourite cycling book?
I found the Tyler Hamilton’s book The Secret Race interesting. Not because it was well written, but it was interesting for me because I vaguely knew a lot of the people involved. I knew all the US Postal guys at the time. It’s of course not good that it was about doping, but it interesting to read.
2. What was your first racing bike?
My first new bike was a Malvern Star. That’s not an international brand, but it’s well-known in Australia.
3. Who’s your biggest cycling hero and why?
Miguel Indurain. I liked the way he rode and used his talents to the full when he won all those Tours. And he’s a really nice guy. I’ve met him a few times, and I really like him as a person. He knows my brother really well, so I’ve had contact that way. [Barry’s brother is Neil Stephens who won a Tour de France stage in 1997 and is currently Sports Director for the UAE Team Emirates World Tour team.] Indurain’s a very decent guy who is still very interesting in cycling and today’s riders.
4. Do you recall your toughest day on the bike?
I do. I’ve got a photo of it on my wall even today. It was during the 1990 Sun Tour in Australia, early on a very windy stage. I’d had a puncture and a really slow wheel change and I was trying to get through the cars to get back to the bunch but all of a sudden the cars were gone, and I was alone on the road. So I had to ride about 100 kilometers on my own. But that day it was a split stage with a lunch break. When I got in I just had enough time to eat a sandwich and line up for the next stage! I have it on my wall for personal motivation: it tells me when things get really hard, don’t rely on anyone else, you have to sort it out yourself.
5. What the best cycling-related tip you would like to pass on?
Don’t just train for the sake of training, but train to the specific demands of the race or event.