Xander Schauffele, the 24-year-old Tour de France qualifier who won the green jersey last year, has been spending a lot of time sharing videos of himself riding to social media after a revelatory win in the previous month.
On Tuesday, he announced that his father, Richard Schauffele, had been beaming so hard after they won the Green jersey at the Tour of California that he ripped off the medal and was now hiding it somewhere.
Xander Schauffele says his dad is ‘hogging’ his gold medal after his tour race win @WorldTour @Lincoln_TNL @Christopher_Nardone pic.twitter.com/Zk41eDRfpS — Daley Thompson (@THOMpsonTimes) June 11, 2016
The obvious solution: Take the medal back to Earth.
Pint-sized, 1-2 American podium finishers in the Brevard-BMX World Championships, the junior pro has shown the durability and race savvy of a bona fide pro the moment he took the lead in the final kilometer of the Tour de France last July and roared into the lead for good, then stuck with eventual champ Chris Froome in a frantic tussle through the Alps to preserve his Green jersey.
He’s also won big events since then. Three days after taking the Green jersey, he took two seconds off Levi Leipheimer’s record with a victory in the Tour of Utah. Last week, he finished second in his 10th major international track championship, the USA Track and Field Junior National Championships, and was the best of the Americans to win all five short stages. His jersey of the week: Boy Scout Troop 143, Pikes Peak.
Despite his future as an elite American cyclist, it’s possible that winning the Tour de France was too far away to shoot for right away — something not at all lost on Schauffele as he’s been downplaying the top-tier rides the past few months.
“It definitely makes me want to win the Tour a little bit more, because I’m definitely looking to set my goals high. Not necessarily win, but be serious contenders — being in the top three of the Tour, top 10 of the Tour — that makes it so much harder to win a race,” he told Newy Scruggs of Cycling Weekly this month.
Focusing on the future was a key part of his decision to start the European season in Brevard rather than Paris-Roubaix, where, in 2016, he became the youngest ever junior winner there.
“There was probably a small patch of time where I sat down and said this is what I want to do, but the biggest thing is that I don’t know how long I’m going to keep doing this. You keep pushing your body and you keep pushing your brain. At the end of the day, there’s going to be a time when I have to keep going — not only for me, but for my family, and maybe even my girlfriend. There’s going to be a point where you have to say this is how long I’m going to do this, and if this doesn’t work out or this doesn’t work out then maybe I should probably figure something else out,” he said.
Schauffele isn’t being ignored by bike racing fans — instead, he’s been generating curiosity with his revelations, and some backlash.
@XSchauffele wins Tour de France before I can grow up,” tweeted Jack Larcourt of the Independent.