Baden Cooke Interview
Ian Melvin talks to Baden Cooke.
out for me. It is an understanding that we have always had, that is now rubbing off on all the other riders, making our whole team much stronger.
IM: This year, FDJeux.com has four Australians in the team (yourself, Brad, Matt Wilson and Mark Renshaw). What is it that makes the Aussies so attractive to European directors these days, FDJeux.com especially?
BC: I think that the directors know that we all make huge sacrifices to make a career over here, so they know that they are getting serious riders that want nothing more than to achieve on the bike.
IM: Do you think the day will come when we see an all-Australian pro cycling team?
BC: We have the riders, just need the flo.
IM: How is it with you all living so close to each other in Nice? I assume you?re all very good mates and enjoy spending time with one another away from the ?office??
BC: The four "Nice" Aussies and our one Swede, all get along like mates on and off the bike. If we're not riding together, we are hanging out or playing pool, stuff like that.
IM: Besides your passion for your 2001 Maserati 3200 GT, how do you relax in Nice?
BC: I really don't relax that much.
IM: What are your goals for the 2004 season? Are there any specific races, which you are aiming for? A World Cup race perhaps - or maybe an Olympic medal?
BC: My dream year would include something green from the tour, something metal from the Olympics, and something called CDM.
IM: You had a nasty fall in the recent Tour of Flanders. How are your injuries from that? Have you recovered?
BC: I rode 2 hours yesterday, and hope to race on Wednesday.
IM: 2004 has been quite an eventful season so far. How did the death of Marco Pantani firstly affect you and what were the thoughts and feelings of the peloton in general?
BC: Of course I was shocked and saddened by Marco's death. I think everyone knew that all was not well with Marco, it is just a huge shame that it had to end like it did.
IM: This year has also witnessed two very serious doping scandals involving both the Cofidis and Comunidad Valenciana - Kelme team. Do you pay much attention to these newspaper stories? What are your thoughts on the riders who make public their claims and allegations?
BC: Once again these terrible allegations have surfaced, and are damaging the sport greatly. Unfortunately doping will never fully disappear from any sport, but I think one thing that cannot be ignored is the two characters that are making the claims. Both guys are obviously not your average athlete, or human for that matter. They are both less than average cyclists that were not only doping, but where obsessed with doping to the point where it ruled their lives. It would appear that they are simply two very weak characters that, faced with being