Kirsipuu Keen for Kudos Down Under
By Karen Forman in Adelaide, January 14
Estonian rider Jaan Kirsipuu loves Australia. And even more, he loves the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under.
He must love it. Because, despite the fact he finds the race very difficult because it is held "too early in the season", he has come Down Under three years running especially to contest the event that launches many of the world's best into the new road racing season.
That's the key, apparently. "It is too early but right after the race I have always felt very good in Europe," he told a pre-race press conference today.
The 32 year old, who rides for the AGR2 Prevoyance team, believes the Tour provides excellent training for the season on the Continent. "I would not say the course is more flat here," he said. "In general it is not easier than in Europe"
A professional rider since 1993, Kirsipuu will be hard pressed to top his past four highly successful seasons. But he says he is going to try.
Last year alone he won two stages of the Tour Mediterranean, the Route Adelie, two stages of the Circuit de la Sarthe, the GP de Denain, four stages of the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque, a stage of the Tour de L'Oise and the Tartu Criterium.
Add a stage of the Tour de Luxembourg, the Estonian Chrono Championship, a stage of the Tour de France, the Sadamast Sadamasse (Tallinn-Paldiski) and stages of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, the Wyscig Pokoju and the Giro della Provincia di Lucca.
Kirsipuu finished with the second highest number of wins in the 2001 season, behind world number one Erik Zabel. He's hoping that the JCTDU will kick start his palmares for 2002.