5 years ago by Tom Soladay

Q&A: Danny Pate looks back on two decades of racing

Retiring from pro cycling after a long career, Danny Pate remembers nearly winning a Tour stage, Cavendish's generosity, and more

This August, Danny Pate ended his professional road racing career nearly two decades after his splashy entry to the pro ranks. In September 1998, Pate won the world title in the U23 time trial, a feat that no American had accomplished beforehand (and only Taylor Phinney has completed since). Pate signed his first pro contract with Italy’s Saeco team. He departed after just one season and returned to race in the domestic peloton. For years, American fans wondered if Pate would get a chance to compete in Europe again.

The opportunity came in 2008 when Garmin-Chipotle was invited to the Tour de France. Pate nearly won a stage, and the result set him up for a long career in the WorldTour, where he rode for Garmin, HTC-Highroad, and Team Sky.

Pate closed out his career after three seasons racing back in the United States with Rally Pro Cycling. VeloNews caught up with Pate to reflect on his time in the sport.

VeloNews: You just finished your last professional bicycle race. What are your emotions at the moment?

Danny Pate: Mixed emotions. I’m happy to kind of feel done. I actually feel done. I’ve done enough where I feel lucky enough to have gotten it all out. All of me is out there on the road. I have no regrets, and that’s the main thing that is allowing me to stop.

VN: A lot of racers late in their careers have that “one more year” mentality. Did you feel that way in the last few years of your career?

DP: Probably for the last eight years! [laughs] Actually, the last couple of years for sure, and especially last year. Physically, it’s gotten harder every year after I turned 35. You just don’t recover, and it gets worse exponentially. The team is going to bigger and better races next year, and those races — I’ll be 40 next year — 40-year-olds belong behind the computer screen or in the car or something, not on the bike.

Read the full interview on VeloNews.com