The Week That Was...

News & Results

01/18/2005| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin

The Week That Was...

Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.

With the 2005 season beginning, this week's column is coming from the Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under, the first major event of the year.  Now in its seventh year, the race continues to grow and has attracted star riders such as Stuart O?Grady, Robbie McEwen, Gilberto Simoni, Cadel Evans and Isidro Nozal in 2005.


Speaking at a press conference yesterday, a handful of the top riders gave thoughts and opinions on the coming week in and around the South Australian city of


Following a dramatic 2004 season, former race winner, Stuart O?Grady returns with his French Cofidis team.  "If I said I wasn't here to win I'd just be lying...and I'd probably get shot.  So I'm pretty motivated, even if my form isn't 100 percent. I like the challenge and the team has come down with a very supporting role. I've got a teammate, Matt White, who's absolutely flying. So it's not really very mathematical to work out that he and I are going to be the leaders."


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O?Grady went on to add that at this stage, he was only at about 80% of his fitness but had ?trained a little bit harder than last year in December and January to try and get good preparation for the National Championships and the Tour Down Under. So I've probably gone a little bit harder than I did last year, but last year was a long season, I had a little bit bigger break than I had before but I just felt I needed it and the form's not too bad."

Discussing the race?s ever improving stature, the
rider said that, "I think the race is just building in importance.  The teams are coming down a little better prepared, they're coming down a bit earlier, and it's attracting some big stars, like Gilberto has come down. There are some big names coming down to the Tour Down Under for a reason. Obviously to get fit but any bike race you win...there's no easy races any more, so the Tour Down Under is an important build up for the European season."


Arriving in
for the first time and leading his new Lampre-Caffita team is former Giro d?Italia winner, Gilberto Simoni.  "I'm here because it's a new experience for me and because I would like to start immediately with the season,? he said.  ?I saw big riders like Stuart O'Grady, McEwen and others win the Tour Down Under and also be strong during the Tour de France and the World Championships. So I thought that I could do the same and this would be a good opportunity for myself. But I will see tomorrow how it's going and will see what I can do." Simoni added that, "It's an opportunity that will give me the upper hand on my rivals. It's a great way to start my preparation, the weather is good and the racing will be good for my form."



Having left the German T-Mobile squad, former Mountain Bike champion, Cadel Evans, returns to


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