Oscar Pereiro Interview
Six months after his terrible crash on the descent of the Col d’Agnello during the 2008 Tour de France, Oscar Pereiro started competing again this past January at the Tour Down Under in Australia. Today, he reflects on his 2009 season and comeback so far.
How do you feel two months after having starting competing again?
“Very happy and the most important point here is that I keep on improving every day. I need only a few things more to be able to be in front again. But I am not in a hurry and I do not force progress more than necessary. In the Mediterranean Tour and the Paris-Nice, two races which we won with Luis León Sánchez, I felt better each day and completed the required job, even if I still miss something to be able to follow the rhythm of the competition when it becomes very competitive. I believe that in the Circuit de la Sarthe and in the 2009 Spring Classics I will be among the best riders and, before that, in the Criterium International I will be able to test my level of strength in an important time trial.”
Do you still feel side effects of your crash in the 2008 Tour de France?
“Very few actually, but from time to time I still feel something in my left arm. For example, in the stage of the 2009 Paris-Nice that finished in Fayence, after going up and down the whole day through, I finished with little cramps in the arm. It was more tired than it should be, but that is very normal, because I still need to reinforce the muscles. The most important for me is that I suffer no after-effects from a psychological point of view. I try to make the descents in front of the bunch and I already do it almost without any fear.”
Which was most difficult for you, starting training again or returning to the pro races?
“Without any doubt the competition, because the rhythm is very different from that which one can adopt to in training sessions. The chance was there to start racing very early in Australia, where the rhythm was not so high yet. In Paris-Nice, it was very different! It is very difficult to resist at such a high rhythm, but I will be able to do it very soon.”
Will you be at the start of the 2009 Milano – San Remo this Saturday?
“Yes. It is the ideal occasion to test myself in a longer race and of course my objective will also be to help Luis León Sánchez and José Joaquín Rojas win the race, even if it is very complicated to finish first in the ‘Primavera’.
Afterwards, I will take part in the Criterium International where, if the weather is good, I hope be with the very best. Later, my program includes the three Classics (Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liege) and then I would like to race somewhere else before going to the Dauphine and then the 2009 Tour de France.”