PEZ: Where’s ‘home’ in Europe?
Home for me these days and for the past two-and-half years has been Monte Carlo; we have a good group of Australians here from all professions and I have a great network of friends.
I moved here when I turned Pro in 2007 before that I stayed with the AIS in Italy.
PEZ: How do you maintain enthusiasm? You were active at Het Volk and still winning in Wallonie; now off to Poland.
Enthusiasm is easy to maintain when you have goals, I think. I had set myself some early season goals which included the classics and the Giro.
And then during my bit of down time in July I had time to think of the second part of the season and set myself some new objectives.
My big objectives for the second part of the season are to be good and to get results in Hamburg and also in ENECO Tour; these are two races that really suit me well – I think I am on track.
It was nice to get the wins in Wallonie to boost the confidence coming into the second half of the year.
PEZ: GP Denain – you were close.
GP Denain for me was not a big goal to be honest, I was heading there more to help our sprinter JJ Haedo, but it came to a sprint.
I started the lead-out about 350- 400m to go and only got passed at about 25m to go; so that was actually a little surprising.
I think I had really good form then just coming off the full classics campaign, but its always frustrating finishing in second or third.
I have had a lot of these over the past years; hopefully they’ll start to translate into wins!
PEZ: The Giro; they say that you need to go through a Grand Tour to move to the next level as a rider, do you think that’s true?
Definitely, I can feel that I have taken another step in terms of my strength and I can certainly notice what a Grand Tour does to you.
I think you also go into other races with a lot higher expectations of what you can do in a bike race; its like gaining an extra two cylinders – going through a grand tour your body goes from a V6 motor to a V8. You can just push that bit harder and suffer that little bit longer.
PEZ: Top 10’s in Giro sprints – good learning experience? can you win Grand Tour stages?
Certainly a great learning experience, and I’d hope that one day, yes, I can be winning Grand Tour stages – and hopefully in the not to distant future.
I think I’m lucky with my type of rider that I can be in with a chance to win stages in bunch finishes and also suited well to breakaway days – that gives me a few extra chances over other riders.
PEZ: How did you come out of the Giro?
I think I come out of the Giro pretty well, obviously a little tired but that’s to be expected.
I kept training through to Ster Elektro Tour and then had a break and spent July getting ready for the last half of the season – and hopefully putting some good wins on the board.
PEZ: Your favourite type of racing – one day/short stage races/Grand Tours?
I would have to say my favourite races are the classics; I love the passion and the uniqeness of the races. But at the same time I love the Grand Tours and all types of racing.
I wouldn’t be a professional bike rider if I didn’t have the goal of going to the Tour de France and hoping for stage wins in a race like that!
PEZ: When the Tour de France is on, are the other races which are on at the same time in a ‘shadow?’
I think they are a little bit, but its hard to compete with the biggest annual sporting even on the globe!
I think that everyone who is onto cycling is watching the Tour de France!
PEZ: Was there a lot of chat in the team about the Andy Schleck/Radio Shack rumours?
Ah, to be honest I didnt hear any chat at all within the team, I was at home when those rumours were getting around and didn’t take to much notice.
I think if you get caught to much in the “rumours” in this sport you would have a full time job just keeping up!
PEZ: Your background is as a track rider – will you ever go back there, for the Olympics? Six days?
One day I think I would like to go back to the track, whether its in 2012 or after.
It kind of depends on how things fit into my road program.
For me at the moment that’s the big goal – to set my career up; but I would certainly love to go back for the Olympics and race for Australia, both on the road and on the track.
PEZ: You were a team pursuiter, did you ever think about the Renshaw/Lancaster lead out specialist role?
Those guys are a bit further into there careers than I am, and its only been the last few years that they have started to take on those roles.
So I think that it will be another three or four years before I really find my position in a team, whether that be a leader in the classics, a sprinter, a lead-out man, GC rider or what ever it maybe.
There are lots of different roles in a team and I think it takes time for everyone to find the ‘calling’ and those guys like Renshaw and Lancaster are some of the best in the world at what they do.
PEZ: Tour of Poland; little bit of a negative rep – bad roads, not best hotels, is that true?
No, I actually cannot say a bad word about the tour of Poland; we always had nice hotels, good food, good short transfers and some of the better roads we race on in Europe!
Not saying this way the case in previous years but this year’s race was fine.
I think being in August instead of September makes a huge difference.
We had sun all but one day and 25+ degrees!
PEZ: What’s after Poland?
Home for a week then off to Hamburg and ENECO tour, two big goals for me.
Then a little break and some one day races in race and Belgium the a possibility of the Worlds but we will see when we get closer to that..
PEZ: Is it back to Oz for the winter?
Sometime I will head back to Australia, not 100% on the date yet.
But I will get back there sometime to catch up with family and friends and prepare for the TDU and our national tittles and season 2010!