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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

The Scott Sunderland Diary 2003

I'm riding the World's!

Belgium, September 24

It's a good feeling, and I'm happy to be selected [by the same token I'd have been disappointed if hadn't been]. Physically I feel good, I feel strong. I haven't really had the results I'd been hoping for, but it wasn't a matter of not being fit enough or not strong enough, just getting in the right moves and having a bit more luck. I feel strong and as capable as I was in 2000 going into the World's [where he finished 7th - ed].

The Aussie team

It's a small team but I think we've got seven good guys. It's a new experience for Ben Day. I'm sure he'll do well in the time trial too as he's very focused on it. I think it's fantastic that the selectors are giving him a chance. I think he deserves it.

From the young riders, we have Allan and Scott Davis. Both have ridden the World's as U23's, but this is a whole new ball game to do 250km with the pro's. Teams of 12 is a bit different than lining up with 5 riders. It's a unique experience though and very valuable for the future.

That goes for Matt Hayman too, although he's been circling around for a few years. I think he'll still learn something from this World's. I'm not really sure how he's feeling in the Vuelta. He's not up there in the results because he's been working for Rasmussen.

Matt White is in a similar situation to Matt Hayman. Both guys have leaders in the first 10 in the classement in the Vuelta, and with good recuperation they'll be good at the World's.

Mick Rogers when I spoke to him last was feeling quite tired, a bit mentally tired. But he's refocusing on the TT and he'll possibly do a nice TT. He's had a big year and I was a bit surprised that he was going to do the World's. He's made a big step in 12 months and I thought that Patrick Lefevere might have advised him to have an early winter. Maybe they've talked about it, maybe a later start next year, I don't know. But we all know what Mick is capable of.

For myself I feel strong, I've been doing well in the last few races, the hilly races. In Fourmies I felt very strong. I had a bit of a cold last week - never got really sick but just was not feeling good at all in the last couple of races. Since then I've done a couple of good training rides and felt the strength return. I've got four days of good racing in Franco Belge and I'll definitely know how I am prior to leaving for the World's. This time of year you've had that much racing it's a matter of getting the head right, doing the training and doing the job on the day.

Having the World's at this time of year is a bit hit and miss as to whether you're 100 percent or 95 percent. What will play a bit more a role this year is the jet lag travelling over to Hamilton. Sometimes I handle it better that other times. It depends on how you're feeling at that moment.

I'll be flying out October 7th, and arriving on the 8th. I'll aim to do some good training on the 9th and that leaves me the 10th and 11th for freshening up. October 12th is the race. The weekend before I leave I'll be doing my long training rides, 7 hours consisting of 100 km by myself then another 3.5 hours behind a motorbike on the 14 km circuit I used before the Plouay World's. I did this for Plouay and was good there and I feel very similar to then.

There's the weather as well. Some say it's like here in Northern Europe, so it could be 10 degrees and raining. Or we could be a bit lucky and it will be 15 degrees and sunny. These are all things in the mental preparation. Like in Valkenburg in '98 it becomes a big mental thing with the bad weather conditions, same with Oslo in '93. I was so put off with all the crashes that I was thinking more about staying upright than of the race.

The circuit suits me: it's got two hills in it and that means a a lot of quick recuperation. There's some fast flat sections and some very fast downhills. It's only a short circuit so those hills are going to come around very quickly each lap.


Paolo Bettini: Because everyone is talking about him.

Oscar Freire: That guy can lift himself so much on the day, and you just have riders like that and the World Championships just suits them.

Peter Van Petegem: He is hard to beat because he can climb on this type of course. I don't think Dave Bruylandts, he's strong but not fast enough. The Spanish riders coming out of the Vuelta will be equally as strong as Bruylandts.

George Hincapie: He'll be dangerous at the World's. He only has to stay with them and stands a good chance in a gallop. There's Floyd Landis and a few of the others from the Vuelta, so George should have good support.

David Millar: If he keeps his head on, he only has to play the waiting game and go with 2 laps to go. He's strong enough to stay out there by himself. It depends how his TT goes. It's pretty hard to back up for both.

Michael Boogerd: Could be good from the Dutch side.

Fabian Wegmann: He's the one sticking out most for the Germans. You've got Zabel but I don't know if he's going. Eric is the type of guy that if he turns up and puts his number on, he means business.

Laurent Brochard: I don't how his form is. He's good on that sort of course with short climbs at the end of a long race, but haven't seen him race recently. Maybe Sandy Casar and Sylvain Chavanel as well.

For myself, I can't see why I can't ride another top 10 and you never know what more could happen. I'm confident and I'm going there with all the intentions of doing the best I can and better. I think at least the Aussies will show ourselves as a team.