Busche enjoying first “le Tour”
Thursday, July 17, 2014 10:27 AM
Editor’s note: Story courtesy Luther College.
Luther College alum Matthew “Flip” Busche is competing in the annual Tour de France. (Photo courtesy Emily Maye, Trek Factory)
Riding in his first Tour de France, Matthew “Flip” Busche, Luther College class of 2007, was excited for the opportunity and impressed by the start of the 101st “le Tour.”
“I’d be lying if I said the reception here in Yorkshire for the ‘Grand Depart’ wasn’t impressive. I’ve never seen so many people lining the road. The noise has been deafening,” Busche said after stage one of the Tour de France.
The nearly month-long tour began Saturday, July 5, in Leeds, United Kingdom. Riding for Trek Factory Racing, Busche is already attempting to make his mark on the tour, pushing himself to help his team focus on their placement.
Busche, the sole American on the team for 2014, is a proven strong climber and said that on the first day he “was going for the breakaway, but Jens (Voigt) beat me to the punch by jumping on the first move of the day. He did a signature Jens move by attacking his breakaway companions to assure himself the polka-dot jersey for the mountains classification at the end of the day.”
In “le Tour,” the leader in the mountains competition wears a distinctive polka dot jersey and is considered the “King of the Mountains.”
Finding the passion
“It’s been so great watching him evolve as a rider but more importantly as a person, and it’s been so fun watching his journey to and now in the Tour,” said Novian Whitsitt, Luther professor of Africana studies and English. Whitsitt helped Busche find a “love for the bike” as Busche says, on the roads of Northeast Iowa.
The two-time All-American in cross country at Luther suffered from tendonitis while running for the Norse and started cycling for rehabilitation. Upon graduating from Luther, he began training and in two years jumped from amateur status to Union Cycliste Internationale Continental to UCI World Tour, perhaps the fastest rise ever in professional cycling, according to trekfactoryracing.com.
In 2010, Busche began his fairy-tale career with Team RadioShack, and a mere year later was crowned U.S. National Road Champion. Team RadioShack merged with Leopard Trek to become Trek Factory Cycling in 2012. With TFC, Busche boasted a second place overall in the 2012 edition of the Tour of Utah and last season he placed a respectable fifth overall in Utah and sixth in the Tour of California. His main focus at the Tour de France is as a domestique, a rider who works for the benefit of his team and leader, for teammates Fränk Schleck and Haimar Zubeldia. However, if the opportunity arises, he will attempt to win different stages of the race.
After 10 stages, Trek Factor Racing is in 11th.
As an individual, Busche is in 158th place
A native of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, Busche and his wife Lisa (Savre) Busche, Luther class of 2008, reside in Brevard, N.C.
Follow Busche’s perspective of the Tour de France on his blog at matthewbusche.blogspot.fr/ and on Twitter follow @matthewbusche. Keep track of the tour online at: www.letour.fr/le-tour/2014/us/.