Tadej Valjavec Interview
Valjavec (Phonak) reflects on his 2004 season and tells Roadcycling.com readers when to look for him in 2005.
Phonak Hearing Systems rider Tadej Valjavec began the season by performing well in major spring races and by performing well in the Giro d'Italia, where he finished in the top 10 overall. Valjavec finished his season by fighting for Vuelta stage wins and by doing a great job to support new team leader Santi Perez in his quest for Vuelta success after Tyler Hamilton left the race. Thomas Valentinsen talks to Valjavec about the 2004 season, his plans for 2005, and about the turbulent times that followed when fellow team members Oscar Camenzind and Tyler Hamilton were accused of doping.
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Describe your 2004 season to us. What were its highs and lows? Did you achieve all the goals that you set yourself at the beginning of the year, and what moments will you remember for the longest time?
I am very satisfied with my 2004 season. The biggest moment for me was the 2004 Giro. At the beginning of the year, I said that I wanted to be in the top 10 on general classification and to finish one stage in the top 3, so I achieved all of the goals. For sure, I will remember this year's Giro for a long time.
You were very active in this year's Vuelta by taking part in many important breakaways and by finishing 2nd in one stage. What were your goals for the race before the start, and are you satisfied with your performance?
Yes, I am also satisfied with the Vuelta because my goals before the start were to help Tyler [ <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
In what ways did your role on the Vuelta team change after Tyler Hamilton had to abandon the race?
You have now ridden both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta. Next year, are you hoping to take part in the Tour de France?
I am not sure about the Tour de France because I want to do an excellent Giro next year and then we will see if I am not too tired.
When did you turn professional, and how did that come about? Where were you first spotted? Was it always your ambition to turn professional?
Yes, it was always my ambition to turn professional. I turned professional in 2000, after I won the Baby Giro (for riders under 25), so Giancarlo Ferretti asked me if I wanted to be in his new team, Fassa Bortolo. [I said] yes.
How is the Phonak team dealing with the speculation surrounding team leader Tyler Hamilton? Is it "business as usual," or are the events surrounding
The Phonak team supports
With the controversy surrounding Oscar Camenzind and Tyler Hamilton, what is the morale like with