Cadel starts his attack on the Tour de France in 2009, trying to do what no other Australian has accomplished, to step onto the top podium after 3 weeks of racing in July.
In the leadup, RC (BNA) has a few questions for Cadel as he gears up with the practice race, Tour of the Dauphin? (in which he has already won the Time Trial) and then the Tour de France.
BNA: Can you tell us how is your preparation going for the Tour? Where are you at with your fitness and training? Is your knee fully recovered after the injury last year?
CE: My preparation, training and fitness etc are progressing well until this point. My next race, Dauphine Libere is my check to see that things are as they should be. It seems the work I did over the summer in Australia have resolved any problems with my knee.
BNA: After two second placing at the Tour, achieved what no other Australian has ever done. Do you feel there is added pressure to win the Tour, and how do you handle the pressure from sponsors the media etc?
CE: No, I continue working as I have always done, that is – to improve. Obviously going for the top step of the Tour de France podium is no easy task, but keep working away at it.
BNA: With Armstrong back in the peloton next to Contador and with Sastre and Basso in good form who do you think will be your main threats for the top podium finish in Paris?
CE: I think Contador and Leipheimer will be the biggest threats to take the top places at the tour.
BNA: After achieving so much with Lotto, why do you think Robbie switched to Katusha, do you still see him around and say g’day?
CE: I still see him often, and of course, we speak regularly. Why Robbie left the Silence – Lotto team, is a question for the team and Robbie.
BNA: The team has yet been finalised for the Tour, but and after a lot of speculation over you moving to another team for 2009, has Silence-lotto built a stronger team for you this year?
CE: Our team is much better than last year. The additions of Sebastian Lang, Thomas Dekker and Charlie Wegelius will normally put us in a much stronger position at the Tour.
BNA: You have been recently testing new time trail setups, is this in preparation for the Tour and have you found the best position and setup for you? What changes are you making?
CE: We changed to Canyon bikes and Ritchey handlbars for 2009, so I have had to adapt my position to that. I work with a biomechanist at Mapei Sport, with the help of Canyon’s Micheal Rich, we have found my optimum position on the bike, that the UCI regulations allow.
BNA: What do you think of this year’s Tour course? Are there any critical stages throughout the Tour when you can see the Tour being won or lost?
CE: The tour can be lost on any stage. The most important stages to win the race will be all of the three time trials and probably the finishes to Andorra, and Mt Ventoux.
BNA: Are you looking forward racing the 2009 UCI Road World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland later this year?
CE: Yes, but lets concentrate on this French race in July first!
Thankyou for your time, and on behalf of Bicycles Network Australia we wish you the very best and will be cheering you on.