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News for January 31, 2003
O'Neill in sparkling form as he opens his account in Le Tour
By Tommy Campbell in Langkawi
Prior to the start Nathan took some time out to show Tommy Campbell that he is a down-to-earth guy.
CN: How did you get involved with cycling?
NO'N: I was 14 years old and I had often been amazed by the sport of cycling. In Australia in those days, it was a sport that never received a lot of publicity. I guess my curiosity grew, and when I started riding to school, I became keen to experience racing first hand.
NO'N: I met an old friend one day and he encouraged me to follow him out to a local club event one morning. It was a 10 mile handicap - the handicapper was generous to me and I won the race. I've never looked back.
CN: Who was your idol?
NO'N: When I first started, I would have to say it was the most prominent English speaking pros that I looked up to; Phil Anderson, Greg Lemond, Andy Hampsten... all of whom I'm pleased to say I've had a beer with, except Greg. Maybe you can fix that!
CN: The participant you most admire in the sport?
NO'N: It's hard to name one rider these days whom you admire above all others. I'd say perhaps Botero, since he's really shown true class in the past season.
CN: Who do you admire in other sports?
NO'N: Muhammed Ali
CN: Which event do you look forward on the calendar?
NO'N: The early season tours... especially if I've begun to find form.
CN: Your favourite book?
NO'N: I'm not really a book worm - the last book I read was called The Cell. It was about the true events that led up to 9-11. Interesting read.
CN: The last CD purchased?
NO'N: I've haven't bought a CD in a while , but my girlfriend's family gave me Robbie Williams' latest album.
CN: Would you recommend a life in sport for your offsprings?
NO'N: Only if it involved Golf clubs or tennis racquets!!
CN: When did you realise that you could make a worthwhile career out of cycling?
NO'N: I knew I had a chance to go somewhere in the early 90s when I had started performing well internationally.
CN: What non-sporting figure do you most admire?
NO'N: Peter Garret (the lead singer and head man of Australian rock group Midnight Oil). He's just quit the band and begun a career in politics. A great ambassador for Australia and human rights activist.
CN: When you hang up the wheels what would like to do?
NO'N: Relax, relax relax; whatever I can do to take my mind off the bike.
CN: Your most memorable moment to date?
NO'N: The World Championships in 2001 were pretty amazing for me - I finished 8th in the pro time trial, then two days later, I met my girlfriend Katie Mactier.
CN: How do view the payment to stars in other disciplines?
NO'N: Difficult question to answer... all I can say is I think as a whole, men's professional cycling is underrated from many angles. Financially and publically, we deserve more - especially when one considers the length and conditions in which we work sometimes.
CN: What are you called in the peloton (nickname)?
NO'N: Nath - or The Bull sometimes.
CN: How do view opinions of you as a cyclist?
NO'N: I feel I am well respected within the peloton, and I know that others can always depend on me.
CN: What is your favourite piece of sporting memorabillia?
NO'N: My National Champions jerseys and especially my jerseys from the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
CN: If your house were on fire, what one item would you take with you as you dashed for safety?
NO'N: Since I've got two arms, I'd grab my dog Jesse under one and my girl Katie under the other!