Bradley McGee Interview

News & Results

07/3/2003| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin
McGee is ready for the Tour.
McGee is ready for the Tour.

Bradley McGee Interview

Ian Melvin talks to Brad about his start in the sport, his transition into a European pro and this year?s Tour.

A lot of riders, especially Australian, make the transition from track to road.  For some this transition happens over night and for others it can take a bit longer.  Junior World Champion in 1993, World Champion just a few years later, Olympic medalist at both <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Atlanta
and
Sydney
and, a pro contract in '98.  But it wasn't until July 14th last year that Bradley McGee could confidently stand up and say to the rest of the European peloton: "I've arrived".  With just 1000M of stage 7 of last years Tour de France remaining, McGee jumped away from the head of the speeding pack, overtaking Mapei's  Pedro Horillo who had been dangling, like a carrot, to take the biggest road victory of his career.  McGee had confidently declared the night before that the 176km run in to
Alencon
would be a day for him to "stretch my legs" and after avoiding all the early fallers, stomping down on his 54x11 across the finish line, McGee had arrived.

McGee will certainly be a rider to watch in this year's Tour de France.  In the recent Tour de Suisse he beat none other than Jan Ullrich in the Time Trial and with six other Aussies in this year's event, you can bet that they'll all be trying to show who's the top dog from down under.

I spoke to Brad a few days ago about his start in the sport, his transition into a European pro and this year's Tour.

You were Junior World Champion in the Pursuit.  Did you ever think back then that you'd attain the level that you're at today?
Not on the road. Back then all I thought about was becoming Olympic track champion. I still want this title! But at the same time my career is as a pro roadie.

You left home before you were 18 and moved to the Australian Institute of Sport to train under the watchful eye of Charlie Walsh.  Did your time their shape you into the road rider that we see today?  How did you cope with the training - Charlie's coaching has a reputation for being a little tough.
The day I turned 19 I was in
Mexico
, on a month long high altitude training camp and we did 295km's that included a 50km climb. This is how it was and no concessions where given to anyone. You survive or you go home. I think this has given my body an excellent base for the road peloton but also, and more importantly, I have learnt that our bodies can handle an incredible amount of punishment.

You signed for FdJeux.com in 1998.  Results were a little hard for you to come by at the start.  Was there ever a time you doubted you were going to make the grade?
Sure, the first years where tough and I held on to the track racing scene for as long as possible. A few stage victories at the Tour de l'Avenir helped sway any negative thoughts.

You made your Tour debut in 2001 and surprised a

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