What's Cool In Road Cycling

GIRO ’07: Parlano Giro-taliano

It’s the socialist in us Scots, we have to talk to people – we went for a mix today; rider – Credit Agricole’s Julian Dean, a mechanic – Discovery’s Craig Geeter, a DS – T-Mobile’s Alan Peiper, and a team owner Oleg Tinkoff.

Pez: How’s the Giro been for the team so-far, Alan?
Alan: OK; we lost two guys early, Michael Barry got sick and Adam Hansen broke two fingers in a crash, so we don’t really have a designated leader. Greg Henderson is our sprinter, but he’s more of a ‘set-up’ man than a real sprint specialist, so we’ll be chasing the breaks and trying for a stage win.

Telekom DS Alan Peiper: you know he’s posed for just a few pics in his day.

Pez: Any surprises from the first day in the mountains?
Alan: There was no surprise with the winner, the last times the stage has finished there it’s been a small group and that kind of finish is made for Di Luca. I was surprised that Savoldelli lost 34 seconds and also that Simoni lost time on a mountain top finish. But the race is young, there are two-and-a-half weeks to go; but maybe the likes of Savoldelli and Simoni losing time is a sign that there’s a new wave of riders coming-through?

Pez: Are you pleased with your Giro so far, Mr. Tinkoff?
Oleg:Yes, there have been three road stages and we’ve been in a good break in each one. Brutt has been in two long escapes and Ignatiev was active on the other stage.

Team owner Oleg Tinkoff and Nikolai Trussov – who according to his boss will be winning a stage… (no pressure there).

Pez: What are your goals for this Giro?
Oleg:To win one stage, that’s it. As I said, Brutt and Ignatiev have been strong but there’s more to come from Nikolai Trussov and Ivan Rovny; he’s only 19, the youngest rider in the race but a real talent. Today is the fourth road stage and it will be our fourth day in the main breakaway!

Pez: Is a stage win part of your plan to get a Pro Tour place.
Oleg:I wouldn’t say the two things are linked, we just want a stage win. Pro Tour is in the future but obviously a stage win would do that cause no harm.

Pez: Is the Giro what you expected?
Oleg:We raced as pro-continental last year, but this is a different level altogether, as well as the Giro we’ve ridden Milan – San Remo, Flanders and Liege this season so we knew what to expect.

Pez: Have you been accepted by the organizers and other teams.
Oleg:I don’t know! But we had a reception with the Giro organiser and he served champagne, so I think that’s a good sign. The other directors seem OK towards us, they all wave and say ‘hi’, they all seem to know me. To be honest though, I don’t have a lot of time to socialize. And if you are going to take my picture, take it with Trussov, he’s going to win a stage for us!

RIDER: JULIAN DEAN (CA) – New Zealand champion and Thor Hushovd’s ‘pilot fish’.

Pez: How about the transfer hassles from Sardinia, Julian?
Julian: It wasn’t the best thing, not getting out on the bike on the rest day, but most teams were in the same situation. Yesterday morning the bunch took it easy early-on because we hadn’t had our usual chance to loosen our legs on the rest day and the course was pretty dangerous anyway.

Juian Dean – Credit Agricole leadout man for Thor Hushovd – checking for the Italian sudoku.

Pez: How is Thor after his crash in Cagliari?
Julian: He’s a lot better, a few days have passed and the effects are easing.

Pez: What about yesterday’s first mountain stage?
Julian: I was ok but not super, as for the guys who were up-there yesterday, I don’t think it will be the same guys who will be up there at the end.

Pez: Who’s your tip?
Julian: I think it will be Simoni, historically he’s very strong in the last week and that’s where the Giro is usually won and lost.

Pez: Any problems so far, Craig?
Craig: Popo (Yaroslav Popovych) broke a frame yesterday when he went down in that big crash, but apart from that we haven’t had so much as a flat tyre.

That’s Discovery Channel mech Craig Geeter with Steve Cummings.

Pez: Tell us about the transfer hassle.
Craig: We were supposed to leave on the ferry at 7.00 pm but didn’t get-away until 9.30 pm, we landed at 9.30 am, it was meant to be 7.00 am but that wasn’t such a big deal. The problem was that the coach and truck drivers had to travel on a separate ferry from their vehicles. In the morning they drove to the port where the vehicle ferry was landing – they sat in the car park for eight hours waiting on the boat. It’s not like you can say the boat got stuck in a traffic jam- is it? Of the 22 teams, 17 didn’t train because they didn’t have their bikes.

Pez: Have you thought about the Zoncollan yet?
Craig: Yeah, we’re going to ride compact chainsets with a 34 ring and 28 at the back – you can’t go much lower, can you? Basso tried it in training and said it was just fine for the climb.

Pez: How’s team morale?
Craig: Good, we’re just a bit disappointed about the time we lost when Popo crashed in the ttt. (Pics of Craig with Steve Cummings already sent)

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