Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Cycling News Extra for July 23, 2006

Edited by John Kenny

An interview with Robbie McEwen

Loading up for the final sprint

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/

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

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

Click here for the full interview.

A strange yet remarkable Tour

By John Trevorrow

What a magnificent Tour de France. What a deserving champion and what a gallant loser.

Floyd Landis (Phonak)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Floyd Landis has pulled off one of the most amazing comebacks in any sport and may well challenge the dynasty of his former team boss Lance Armstrong.

Landis was asked if, when he was Armstrong's teammate, he thought he would one day wear the maillot jaune. "I dreamed of wearing it. I always hoped that I would lead a team and get the opportunity but it takes a lot of hard work from a lot of people, a lot of determination and a bit of luck. Today I feel lucky," an emotional Landis said.

Landis was raised in a strict Mennonite family and said that his upbringing helped him recover from the disastrous day in the Alps, "I felt only humiliation so I just got angry. I had good parents who taught me the value of hard work and patience."

Oscar Pereiro was inspiring in the final week. The way he defended in the Alps was stirring stuff and he never looked like folding. His time trial was also full of determination and fire and he kicked and scratched all the way to the line in a huge attempt to keep the maillot jaune.

Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

It was also a brilliant event for Australia. Cadel Evans was just sensational. His grit and determination were always evident and he never stopped trying. His fifth place now puts him alongside Phil Anderson as the highest placed Australian.

Robbie McEwen proved himself to be the fastest man in the world and at the time of writing was heading into Paris as the unbackable favourite to win stage number four and the most prestigious of them all on the Champs Elysees.

Michael Rogers was superb. He managed to join Evans and Phil Anderson as the only Australians to make it into the top 10. But Rogers' effort is all the more creditable because he spent most of the days in the big mountains forcing the pace for teammate Andreas Kloden. Rogers could well have finished top five or even made the podium if he had been able to ride for himself.

Michael Rogers (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Stuart O'Grady proved once again that he is the tough man of cycling. A fractured vertebra in the first week would have stopped most athletes but O'Grady not only suffered through the pain but rode himself back into good form. He spent most of the tour protecting teammate Carlos Sastre and did it very well.

Simon Gerrans also showed the fighting spirit that Australian professional cyclists are renowned for. Recovering from a smashed shoulder and complications in his rehabilitation, Gerrans was well under done at the start line in Strasbourg. He improved each day but he couldn't quite get on the podium in a stage as last year. He also did a power of work to help teammates Dessel and Moreau. The sight of Gerrans leading the charge on the front of a depleted peloton, over one of the biggest Pyrenean passes, was stirring stuff.

Rider quotes

By John Trevorrow and Brecht Decaluwé

Stuart O'Grady:

JT: How has the tour gone for you Stuart?

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

SO'G: It's been a tough tour. It's probably been my worst as far as position goes but it's been great having a rider in a position to win the GC. Every day we have a strategy and a plan, it has been a real team. I have had a different role this year and I've done my job since we lost our team captain and now we have Carlos just about on the podium we're pretty pumped I guess.

JT: A couple of weeks ago you had two broken bones in your back and it looked as if you would not be able to go on. Can you believe you have gone on?

SO'G: Well, I can tell you at one time I thought I would be in a wheelchair. It really hurt, Ï mean the team has supported me, it has just been phenomenal; without them I don't think I could have done it.

Simon Gerrans

JT: This has been you second Tour de France, how do you think it went?

Simon Gerrans: The first week was pretty good - just out on the flat, then in the second week we got the jersey with Dessel That was a pretty good thing but this last week, I have just been trying to survive a bit but I'm pretty happy with the way we went.

T-Mobile made the blistering pace
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

JT: What's it going to be like for you, riding into Paris?

SG: It's going to be fantastic getting on to the Champs Elysees for the first time. Everybody has worked so hard, so getting to Paris is going to be something special.

JT: What has been the highlight of the Tour for you?

SG: Oh, the team, and Dessel getting the jersey. That's by far been the highlight of the Tour. And having Dessel and Moreau in the top 10 in the GC, of course.

Some of the riders in the breakaways, that inspired people like me. In all it's been a tough three weeks and I'm glad to have got through.

JT: One of the memories of you was you going up one of the mountains making the pace?

SG: Yeah, I think we rode Tourmalet and I think it was Aspin. I felt fantastic that day, it was the highlight of my three weeks, having the leader there and defending the jersey that day was just awesome. The whole team lifted to the occasion. I'll always remember that climb.

Michael Rogers:

Michael Rogers reflected on his Tour performance after the final time trial, "I struggled. So I couldn't get going, I just couldn't get going. I went as good as I could.

JT: Mick, you have ridden this tour as a domestique, pretty impressive to get a top 10 finish?

Rogers and Mazzoleni
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Michael Rogers: Yeah, pretty happy. I'm not sure I have finished top 10, but I won't be too far from it. It's not bad playing a domestique's role. Probably paid the price in the past couple of day. Hey, that's part of cycling and that's part of the Tour de France. I was just scraping the bottom of the barrel out there. It was really hot, really humid, just kept going through water, it was such a long way, it was windy, it was hilly, it felt uphill the whole way. That's the way it is, I'm happy.

One day to go.

JT: Kloden probably takes third place from Sastre?

MR: That's good, but it's not finished yet though.

Brecht Decaluwé: Despite entering this Tour de France as a domestic, working hard for the team, you're still managing a top 10 spot. How does that make you feel?

MR: I'm pretty happy now getting that spot. If you took it away it wouldn't matter though. It's not too bad, knowing that I was a domestic. I probably paid the price during the last ten days, but that's just the Tour de France. Obviously I want to go to Paris today but I was scraped, completely in the body bag, at some stage.

BD: How was the course?

MR: It was really hot and humid. kept going through water you know. Such a long way . it was hilly and it felt windy and uphill the whole way. That's the way it is and I'm happy there's only one stage to go now.

Cadel Evans

JT: How does it feel to have a top five finish in the Tour de France?

Cadel Evans (Davitamon)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Cadel Evans: The best are yet to come, except for Kloden who beat me to it. He took three minutes but I did what I could. You know, I don't feel that stuffed right now so I didn't do a particularly good time trial. I had a flat tyre, which can break up your rhythm and whatever, but I thought I got back into it.I just couldn't get anything out of myself today. Another jersey change. I liked the course; I prefer it when it breaks your rhythm. I thought it was going to be a hillier course and this was quite flat, a real rolleur's course, more for the power time triallers.

I have improved a bit this year but dropped a little in climbing. That's part of the reason am not up with the top bike riders.

JT: You said before the start you would be happy with top five?

CE: We will see what happens when we get to Paris. I don't believe in saying you going to do this, you're going to do that. In our sport and in this race in particular, it's legs that get remembered. This race was so peculiar with breakaways, Pereiro taking back 28 minutes, Landis getting his minutes back and maybe wins the Tour, it's been such a strange tour and when you take all those things into consideration it doesn't always equate. Last year I got eighth this year it looks like fifth. Maybe that's better, may be that is worse. You can't compare the Tours, this one has been so strange; it has been a remarkable race.

Previous News    Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)