CycleSportNews.com founder Jamie Ford caught up with Robbie McEwen at the recent Pegasus Training camp on the
While over looking the beautiful Noosa Springs golf course, Robbie gave him an insight into 2011 and the new beginnings of an exciting time with the Australian Pro Continental squad.
Robbie, is it fair to say you had a reasonable season for 2010?
I’d say the 2010 season was very up and down for me. I had a good start in the Tour Down Under and ran 4th overall.
My aim was to get through the 1st half of the season and manage my left leg, which I broke in the course of 2009.
So it was all about building up strength again and getting consistency and building towards my major goal of the season, which was the Tour de France and the World Championships.
How did the Tour go for you?
Ah the Tour de France didn’t go well. I had some really some heavy crashes! One was on stage 2 when I lost a lot of blood and then had some complications from the tetanus injection.
Then a few days later, I had a nasty crash after the finish line. After rolling through after the line, a camera operator from a European television station decided he needed to be standing in the middle of the road.
I was coming thru after the sprint at 60k an hour and we hit head on and that effectively ruined my whole tour. After that I had a bad tour. And then of course I had a big disappointment at not being selected for the World Championship in
The rest of the 2010?
Other than that, it was quite good. I got a really nice win in August in the Eneco Tour.
Also during the Giro d’Italia I had some really good stages on the bike , I felt everything was coming back together like it should as far as my left leg was concerned.
The other thing I really got out of 2010, was building up a lot of resistance again and a lot of racing condition, there were so many race days! I think all the race days I missed by being injured in 2009, I certainly made up for it in 2010! I had 116 race days where most guys will only do about 75.
So it was a really, really busy year, but I think it will stand me in good stead for 2011.
I’m just getting back into training now and today was my 1st 100 km day.
We’re getting towards the end of November now so there is no panic yet. I’ll build it up to December and plan to hit the ground running and hopefully that will be the Tour Down Under in January.
We are just waiting for the organisers to ring the team and say, ‘You’re in the tour… welcome’
So as far as early season goals go, obviously if the team makes it into the Tour Down Under it would be great, but after that… where do you see yourself?
Before that we’ll be riding the National Championships with the Australian guys… about 11 Australians!
So we’ll try and make an impact in both the criterium and time trial and of course the road race, so in all 3.
It would be great to be able to take a National Championship jersey into the team and across to
But yeah, as I said, hopefully the Tour down Under and then add to that, we’ll have a team going to the tours of
There’ll be another group of guys doing the Tour of Malaysia and yet another group of guys which includes our South Africans, of which we have 4, being home to ride their National Champs and the Tour of South Africa (at the end of February / beginning of March).
Then we’ll have
So far we’ve got a couple of invites to races which we really want to do, at pro-tour level, so you know, we’ve got wild cards for those races like the Tour in Africa, its really pleasing to be invited to a tour like that.
And for the rest, we are at that time of the year when the Wild Cards are starting to get decided for a few races.
However we will probably have to wait more towards the end of January to know about some of the races say for the end of March.
Like the Turino or Paris-Nice etc
So we’ve just got to come out firing and really prove ourselves and give ourselves some credibility by good results.
What are your thoughts and feelings about not being included in the worlds?
I’m still disappointed I wasn’t there, we’ll never know if I wouldn’t have made it to the finish of that group or not, but the thing I was counting on was a group of 25 or 40 riders… and it turned out to be 30 riders sprinting for the win!
And the way things were going I was really confident of being in the 30 man group by the finish. Seeing the way it turned out, it was kind of painful to watch… but I’m trying to move past that.
I’m trying to focus on what I’ll be doing in 2011 and there’s another Worlds next year of course (2011) in
You seem with age your sprinting style may have changed… become more of an endurance sprinter perhaps?
The thing that changed the most about my sprinting over the last 18 months was the broken leg and the tendon injury that I obtained in the Tour of Belgium in May 2009 – until then, really nothing had changed. With the injury I had a huge battle to get myself back on the bike and capable of riding races.
That was almost like a win in itself. And it took me half of 2010 to really get some consistency and some real power back in my left leg.
In the second part of the season I was going really, really well!
So now I’m looking ahead and believe in 2011 I’ll be better than I was through the whole last 12 or 16 months. So we’ll see then if much has changed in the sprints in Tour Down Under or… obviously there’s always guys coming through like Cavendish, like Farrar, like Greipel who are very good athletes and great sprinters, and I realize I’m not getting any younger but I think I’m still competitive.
Do you think there will be much fire between Greipel and Cavendish in the Tour Down Under? (It will be the first time the 2 have faced off on different teams – Ed.)
Cav always brings a bit of fire, I think he’s almost half made out of fire! I think it will be pretty exciting to watch. Those guys are already confirmed for the Tour Down Under everybody’s talking to the media about it. “The duel between Greipel, Cavendish and Farrar and you know, I hope our team gets a start just so I can get in there with them and hopefully have a nice photo of me crossing the line with those three behind me (haha).
With the new team, do you think there is a chance there are too many riders with the same ability… too many sprinters perhaps?
No I think the make up of the 2011 team is a good one. With myself and Jonothan Cantwell and we’ve got a few guys who are not real sprinters but they’re fast guys who will really be able to provide a good lead-out.
Clinton Avery, Jay Thompson, Bernie Sulzberger, Aaron Kemps – he’s another great sprinter.
But it will generally be decided on the day, in the race itself. We would work out what we would be doing and for who, and obviously we’d be riding a double program. So it would be good to have maybe a fast guy in both races and see if we can support that with the lead-out guys.
Have you been doing any lead-out training with the new team? Any sprint specific training?
No, not as yet, its only November and this is our first time together, to get to know each other. But we are starting to think about the lineup of what we might do for the sprint.. who is going to go where and do what for who, and that sort of stuff. So we’re conscious of it, but with this … really, you got to dial that in during races, when you’re under pressure.
So we’ll have a few practice runs. We’ll have another training camp in January (2011) with the team and that’s when it will start to get more active on that front. Really start to tune it.
Another question you may not want to be asked, but where do you see Robbie McEwen in 2 or 3 years time?
On the beach!! In 2 or 3 years time… well you know… you can’t be a professional sportsman for ever! I’m 38 going on 39 and I realize… well I would imagine 2011 will be my last year racing.
After that, I’d like to stay in contact with the team in some sort of position, not a full time and not a European base, but I’d like to be involved with the team and certainly help the team develop.
Help so that we have an Aussie pro-tour team riding in the Tour De France, with an automatic start and all that sort of thing.
Part of me wanting to sign with this team in the first place was I wanted to be involved and get in from the start.
2011 is going to be my last opportunity to do that. I’m excited about being part of it, even after my active riding career, to still fulfil a role within the team. But I do see myself staying in
So you see yourself in
Yeah, we’ll live on the Gold Coast. We’ve just finished building a house on the Gold Coast and just moved in. We’ll be away for this cycling season, but we’re going to settle in
But like I said, I will have contact and play a role within the professional team of Pegasus Sports. I think also, fully help out and see how everything’s going on a domestic front, with the younger team, where we can help mould the younger riders ready to make that next step.
We’ll be wrapping up here as I know you have to go play some golf with the boys! You must be incredibly excited that in a country ranked 3rd or 4th in the world for so many years is finally having its own professional cycling team! I mean this should have happened years ago right?
Yeah, it really is time that
We also expect other Aussie riders to realize that this is something really exciting for Aussie cycling, and they should also get involved.
So no Robbie McEwen clothing line, or McEwen bikes on the cards for the future?
No, (haha) nothing like that yet. But who knows, eh?