What's Cool In Road Cycling

Matt White gets Pez’d!

Matthew White, one of the best domestiques of the pro peloton, recently talked to Pez before the Zurich world cup about his season so far, his wife’s Olympic chances & his plans for the Vuelta & the coming season. ‘Whitey’, one of two Aussies on the Cofidis team is clearly one of the most popular riders in the peloton. Before the start of the Zurich world cup he could be seen sharing jokes, handshakes & smiles with every soigneur, mechanic & rider he sees, in English, Spanish or Italian. It seems like White knows everyone in the pro circles & everyone enjoys being around such an infectious character.

PEZ started the conversation with White, talking about his wife’s chances in her Olympic race the next day. (Jane Saville – race walking).

PEZ: So how’s Jane feeling & how nervous is the coach (White)?

Matt White: Well Jane’s feeling good, really good. I was in Athens yesterday & flew up here today. I’ll then fly straight back to Athens after the race today. (Note: Jane claimed Bronze in her event)

Typical of a top domestique, it was hard to get Matt to talk about himself. If he wasn’t talking about his ‘team leader’ at home, he was talking about his team leaders in Cofidis. Eventually we got around to his own season & how he was feeling before the race:

PEZ: So how are you feeling for today’s race?

MW: Pretty tired, Zurich wasn’t really part of my schedule but we have a few guys injured and a few blokes at the Olympics doing the track, so I’ve kind of filled in the slot. It’s not really a race for me Zurich, but it’s good preparation for the Vuelta. I had a couple of really good weeks back after the crash (White unfortunately crashed while warming up for the Tour de France prologue & missed the race) with Hamburg & Denmark. Stuey (O’Grady) winning in Hamburg (world cup) & in Denmark we won 3 out of the 5 stages.

PEZ: Hamburg must have been a big moment for you? Highlight of the season?

MW: Oh it was, it was good. I was under a lot of pressure to do a good ride & I had a really good ride there to bring back the break in the final.

PEZ: You got 25th there too didn’t you? (only Cofidis team mate of O’Grady’s in the front group)

MW: Yeah, it was good for Stuey to get the win & then Denmark after that.

PEZ: You’re a definite selection for the Vuelta then?

MW: Yeah, yeah. I do the GP de Plouay & then the Vuelta after that.

PEZ: Will you be doing the World’s after the Vuelta?

MW: Yeah, I will cause it’s the weekend after the Vuelta & basically you’re either flying or you’re going really bad & you haven’t got too much choice in the matter. You don’t have time to recover, cause six days is not enough. So hopefully I can keep the ball rolling & not be totally spent. It’s like Stuey after the Tour. He was super for Hamburg, whereas a lot of the other guys who were good in the tour were bad.

PEZ: Will you be heading back home(to Australia) after the worlds? or….

MW: Nah mate, I’ll also be doing Paris Tours & maybe even some of the Italian races like Lombardy. Not sure about that, but definitely Paris Tours as that’s a race that Stuey can win. It’s a definite goal. He got 3rd last year. Also Stuey’s doing the Vuelta this year, not sure if you knew that…..

PEZ: You’ll be able to show him a thing or two there!

MW: Yeah…….he’s never done the Giro or the Vuelta, but he’s done something like eight Tour de Frances. He’s got really good moral & I think he’s ranked 12th in the World or so at the moment & if we can get him up there for some wins at the Vuelta, or have some consistency in the sprints we could have him in the top ten.

We also have some Spanish guys who could win stages & maybe Perez for top 5 overall.

PEZ: Ok, quick question time. Australian Pro championships in January. Are you racing this year?

MW: Yeah, we’ll definitely be there this year cause Cofidis are doing the Tour down Under in January.

PEZ: Now I’ll be racing that race myself. Any chance of you letting me kick your ass??

MW: (lots of laughter) …Well, January races aren’t really my thing mate. With the Pro Tour next year, things are changing a bit & we’ll be doing the Giro, Vuelta as well as the Tour, so I’ll be looking for form in May, June, July as I’ll put my hand up for the Giro & the Tour. I’ll probably have a cruisy sort of spring.

PEZ: Another quick question. Parlez vous francais?

MW: (Laughing) petite…(more laughter)

PEZ: Well I speak Spanish & Italian & I understand enough French. Not too bad, I can understand it when I need to. On the radio today, French team – 100% in French?

MW: Oh, yeah mate – but the good thing in Cofidis is that they don’t use the radio too much. In Postal it’s like flat out, you wouldn’t get two minutes of silence. For the races I do, it’s usually Spanish/English – like at the Vuelta its English/Spanish, Spanish/English – so that’s perfect.

PEZ: Thanks for your time today Matt & good luck for your upcoming races.

MW: Thanks mate. I’m more worried about Jane’s race tomorrow than I am about my races!

So there you have it. A chat with super domestique Matty White. A nicer guy you wouldn’t meet & an absolute asset to any team as he truly gives 100% for his leaders. Look out for Whitey tearing it up on the front of the peloton at the Vuelta, setting O’Grady up for the sprints & Perez for the GC.

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