The Scott Sunderland Diary 2000
Merlins and Arthurs, October, 2000
Although I will not have raced during the last two weeks leading up to the World Championships, this must be the busiest time of the season.
I rode Franco-Belge (September 29-October 1) and went very well, with a second in one stage and a fifth place in general classification. Feeling confident I can keep that form and might even get stronger for the World Championships, all I have been doing is long, hard training rides. Gordon Mc Cauley (NZ), our stagair who will ride for Tönnissteiner next year, has been accompanying me on those exhausting torture-sessions in the constantly changing weather conditions. Gordon said he appreciates how much he is learning in preparation for next year.
It made me feel good about myself. More and more, I like it when I can share my experience with the neo-pro's and youngsters. There are a lot of "mature" professionals who are very hesitant about teaching the newcomers something about the profession, a shame really...I do understand and guess they don't want to find themselves in a position where the "teacher" ends up fighting for a position in the team with a "pupil". I have been there and did get the short end of the stick. That's why I admire teams like Rabobank, Mapei and Telekom, which nurture their young development squads. The rookies then go on, doing the real thing guided by the ones holding an "honorary degree in professional cycling", grasping hold of the tricks, spells and ways of the wizards (no potions needed!).
Besides hammering myself out training, the usual issues on this time of the year are demanding attention. With the 205 UCI points I'm holding now (ranked 246th and 5th Australian) I am not up there with the crème de la crème. But I am surely of interest to quite a few second division teams and I am able negotiate things with bigger formations, benefiting from my performances in the one-day classics and general knowledge of the classics scene.
On top of that, I don't mind riding a three-week Tour either (I have ridden all major Tours; Vuelta, Tour de France, Giro, Tour of Switzerland), that makes talking to the managers and team directors aiming for first division very interesting.
Whether I'll stay with Palmans (Collstrop-Palmans next season) or go and breathe in some fresh air somewhere else in 2001, I don't know yet...I'll make my decision after the World Championships. My plan is to ride for another four seasons; I still am very ambitious. Unfortunately, things don't always go to plan, I've noticed that on more than one occasion...
Take one day at a time, that's my way now and it works, keeping balanced and focused is so much easier these days...
Talk to you after Plouay - hope the weather is on our side!