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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
Interview with Baden Cooke - Part 2
So how's it all going mate?
23 year-old sprint revelation Baden Cooke been in some pretty serious fights of late. Fighting for the right wheel that is, duking it out with Erik Zabel and compatriots Robbie McEwen and Stuart O'Grady in the mad sprint for the line throughout the first week of Le Tour. And when you're scooting along at 70 clicks an hour, there's no time for talking. Gerard Knapp managed to get a few words with Cookie once he slowed down.
Cyclingnews: How has the first week been from your perspective? You were in the top 5 on numerous occasions, plus Brad won a stage. You must be pretty satisfied with that - when do you think your next opportunity for a stage win will come?
Baden Cooke: The first week of the Tour has been a mixture of highs and lows. Brad's win was by far the best part of the week, giving the team the first Tour stage win in five years. At first I was very happy with my high placings and was satisfied with my form; but quickly I have become hungry for more, and now I have my sights set on the last stage into Paris.
CN: Erik Zabel described you as "the revelation of the Tour". How do you and Zabel get along on the road?
BC: I have not had much to do with Zabel outside the sprints. He seems like a good guy, and races fair. I have a lot of respect for him and try to learn from him.
CN: You're now in third spot in the points competition - do you think it will be possible to overtake Zabel and McEwen before Paris?
CN: Can you see yourself getting into a break with Stu [O'Grady] to claim some intermediate sprints?
CN: Have you ridden any of the climbs which are coming in the next two weeks?
BC: Yes, I know a few of the climbs from the Dauphiné Libéré and from a training camp we had about a month ago; I don't know if knowing the climbs is a good or a bad thing.
CN: Will you be using a different bike for the climbs?
BC: No, I have a special light weight climbing bike, but I don't really like it. It feels too sloppy, and doesn't handle too well. I will stick to my heavier, stronger sprinting bike.
CN: Is it a matter of survival and finishing inside the time limit, or do you think that you'll be OK?
BC: I will use the time limit each day, to just get through the stages in the best possible condition, and try not to fry myself.
CN: Best experience of the first week?
BC: Brad's win.
CN: Weirdest experience of the first week?
BC: Getting mobbed at the start of each stage.