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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

An interview with Robbie McEwen, July 23, 2006

Loading up for the final sprint

Robbie McEwen has all but secured the green jersey as the best sprinter in the race. He simply has to finish today's stage and he will don the green tunic in Paris. John Trevorrow spoke to the rapid Aussie.

McEwen's closest rival is now out of the race
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

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John Trevorrow
: That's the hard one out of the way, how do you feel you went?

Robbie McEwen: Good, you just have to keep a tempo going and make sure you come in under the time limit. You can't cruise. I was out there too long, around an hour and 16 minutes.

JT: Are you looking forward to tomorrow and what do you expect to happen?

RMcE: Just try to make it a sprint and win it. The Champs Elysees is a hard place to win. We'll just go out there and see what the tactics are and see what happens.

JT: With 200 to go following Steegmans, what's it like?

RMcE: Hard, actually. He's very fast and has a different strength to all the others so I see what happens at the time.

JT: What was the course like today?

RMcE: It's a fast course, I hardly pedalled the last five and still averaged 44kmh. I just cruised the last 10. There is one spot about the 10km to go, where the roads seems to go straight ahead but it's actually a left hander and I just got the brakes on in time.

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

JT: You mentioned yesterday about the Champs Elysees stage and said it made the hair stand on end?

RMcE: Yeah, I just keep thinking about it more and more. I just want to get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow's a long day, bus ride, train ride, bus ride, then the stage, so you just have to keep relaxed, enjoy the cruise into Paris turn the switch to on when we hit the Champs Elysees.

JT: What are your thoughts about the Tour and the twists and turns?

RMcE: It has been pretty exciting and unpredictable, especially now. We've got the time trial and the first five riders in the GC are within three minutes and the first three within 30 seconds so I'm certainly going to watch it.

JT: From the start it has been pretty exciting and now it's so close do you think it will bring more fans to the sport?

RMcE: In it will again create more interest. In the Armstrong era it was a close race until the prologue finished and then you knew who was going to win but now I think it will create a lot of interest in the race, it's such an exciting race that's going right down to the wire. Who knows, tomorrow these blokes might be sprinting to see who wins the Tour. It could be amazing.

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

JT: The Landis ride the other day has helped generate a lot of this excitement hasn't it?

RMcE: I think he grew a moustache and bought a pirate's eye patch, the way he rode the other day. Swashbuckling.

JT: You are going into Paris and you can't lose the green it must be a strange feeling for you?

RMcE: Yes, going into Paris in green and knowing I'm on the podium well it's different, I am used to being all pumped up and stressed. Now I'm not worried about any intermediate sprints, I can just ride in there relaxed bit I can still really load up for that final sprint, I'm still pretty motivated for that. Last year I knew I wasn't going win the green, I was too far behind and hopefully with the three blokes I've got behind me we can get in there and sprint for it.

Robbie was told that Hushovd was hoping the mountains had taken something out Robbie's legs.

RMcE: No, everything is still there; you can go and break the bad news to him if you like.

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