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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

The Scott Sunderland Diary 2003

On the Up and Up

Germany, April 23, 2003

On the front in Amstel
Photo © Russell Van Hout
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Scott Sunderland has been quietly improving on his form in the past few weeks. He gave us the following update after the opening time-trial of the International Niedersachsen Tour which started in Germany on April 23.

"A few hiccups have been holding me back in my preparation during the first months of this season, but I'm feeling okay. The knee problem seems under control and I'm focusing on the coming races," Scott said.

"Also, my mind is at peace now that my youngest son Tristan [eight months] is back at home. He suffered big time with an intestinal virus - that one has been very active in Belgium this year. It forced him to be in hospital for observation and treatment for over a week. Keeping focus for Scheldeprijs and Amstel was quite a task for me, but I did feel my form improving.

"My physical condition is not at a hundred percent as yet, and actually, this morning I woke up with puffy and itchy eyes because of the pollen in the air here. My team director noticed the same thing.

"I have had very few race days so far this season - Amstel was only the 17th day of competition and I have done no stage races so far. The good thing about that is that I feel fresh and my race schedule should bring me to top form nicely."

How did he feel about the morning's time trial?

"Man, it was my first time trial of the season and as always, they hurt! I'm still coughing," he laughed. "But I'm not here to ride for 'classement'; this the last race in the build-up towards Rund Um Den Henniger Turm and Arhus which is a very important race for our Danish sponsors, and then it's on to the Giro."

That Scott is close to top form was noticeable in last Sunday's Amstel Gold World Cup race, where Scott lead the peloton home, and still looked comfortable and fresh after the difficult race.

"I felt I could have done a bit better than 40th place in Amstel last Sunday," he said. "Maybe that few percent I'm still lacking made the difference between being in the first twenty and finishing where I did now."

"But still I was happy to race that one World Cup this spring. It's a pity that the team didn't get a start in Luik-Bastenaken-Luik [Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Ed]. I've done well there before. But knowing that I felt stronger than what my placing in Amstel reflects gives me confidence for the coming months. Hey, the season is still long and there's enough races for everyone!"