Tour Preview: Robert Hunter Interview
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. You are obviously very busy with preparing for the Tour de France.
2005 has been an interesting year for you and your results include a stage win in the Tour de Georgia. Tell us more about your season so far...
What I can say is that I?m obviously pretty happy with the way things have gone for me with five victories till now, and I hope I can manage a few more before the end of the year.
Getting on to the team?s Tour strategy, what are Phonak?s main goals in the 2005 Tour de France?
That would have to be to try and win the Tour of course. We will have two riders right up there for GC, I think, and from there I?ll be trying to win a stage.
Phonak will be starting the 2005 Tour de France with two potential Tour winners as part of its team. Last year the team only had one leader (Tyler Hamilton). How do you expect to double-edged sword tactic to work out? How will you determine who the supporting riders should work for?
It?s easy to answer... We work for both riders for three weeks. You never know what can happen, so it?s always better to have two riders up there than one. Obviously, it?s up to them in the end to see who has the legs to do the damage.
How do you rate Landis?s and Botero?s chances of success in terms of stage wins and the overall classification?
I think in terms of stage wins they are both capable riders and both can win, but saying that they are both very different riders with Botero being more aggressive, and Floyd more patient.
Are there other Phonak riders that our readers should keep an eye out for when watching the Tour de France stages? Any specific riders you expect to perform above expectations, and why?
I think the team as a whole is in good shape and obviously every one has his job to do with the main focus being GC, but you never know what can happen if a breakaway goes with one of us in it. We will have to wait and see I guess.
What are your own goals for the Tour de France 2005? What will it take for you to leave
A stage win in the bag will make me a happy camper.
There are fewer sprint stages in this year?s Tour de France than there were in last year?s. Some of them will take place after some of the hardest mountain stages. How do you think this will affect the sprints and the outcomes ? not least your own chances?
It?s always difficult to say, but the fewer stages just means that the sprinters? teams will for sure take control on these days to take maximum advantage.
Tell us more about how do you plan to ride the Tour sprints? Will you have any support from teammates?
It?s difficult to have the team support when most of the team is based around the GC guys, but I?m happy with that. I know how to handle myself, I think, so I?ll just have to take advantage of the other teams.
You took part in the 2003 Tour de France where you placed third in stage 12. How have you changed as a rider since 2003?
I guess every year I get a little more experienced and stronger both in the legs and head.
This year, the field of sprinters appears very strong, and many are reaching top form for the Tour, with Thor Hushovd performing well in
It?s difficult to say. No one sprinter is the same, but all of them including myself can get the job done on any given day. So I don?t think I can really say I?ve got any advantages.
With sprint king Alessandro Petacchi not taking part in the Tour, many analysts don?t expect the Fassa Bortolo team to control the peloton like they usually do. How do you expect this to affect the sprinter stages and their outcomes?
It won?t. There are always teams keen to take control of the race.
In which Tour de France stages should Roadcycling.com readers expect to be thrilled by your performances?
For sure not the mountain stages...can?t get more specific than that.
There are now only a few days left before the Tour start. How do you plan to spend these days?
I?m still training, obviously, and besides that just taking it easy.
The whole team here at Roadcycling.com thanks you for taking the time to talk to us at this busy time of year and wishes you great success in the 2005 Tour de France.
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com as we continue our 2005 Tour de France coverage...