LA CLAYETTE, France (VN) — Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) adds that extra bit missing from his Tour de France preparation this week in the Critérium du Dauphiné: intensity. After a training block in Colorado and at his Euro-base in Monaco, the Milan-San Remo winner is back racing and looking towards the Tour.
“I’m lacking the intensity. For example, [I suffered] in the fast start and in the final yesterday in [Saint-Félicien]. We raced quite hard for the first hour. That kind of intensity you only get from racing,” he told VeloNews Wednesday morning.
“I wasn’t really expecting to set the world on fire this week, but it’s all part of the progression. I rode up the final climb, when we kind of let the group go. I thought it would have been a nice finish for me, but you can’t have a go in every race.”
The Aussie champ spoke as fast as the rain clouds passed in Givors, just south of Lyon. He’s looking ahead to the golden days in the Tour de France, where he will help Australia debut its first top-level team.
“Everything looks good for the future,” the team’s Belgian sports director, Lorenzo Lepage told VeloNews while taking shelter under the bus’ awning.
“We knew he’d need competition coming into this race because he just came off a break, his last race was Liège-Bastogne-Liège [at the end of April]. The plan was that he was here to work on his condition, to come out better for the Tour. He said yesterday, ‘It was hard, but just hard enough to help my condition better.'”
Gerrans helped GreenEdge rocket into the season with the overall in the Tour Down Under. As if Australia’s biggest stage race wasn’t enough, he won the Milano-San Remo classic in March.
Ahead of the Dauphiné, he trained at altitude in Colorado near Boulder and around Vail.
“The altitude’s great, then it’s a bit of a break from Europe and the racing over here,” Gerrans said. “I have good friends there that we stay with.”
Gerrans smiled. He’s one of the friendliest riders in the pro peloton. The smile is helped by his results, a wave he will continue to ride though the season.
“It was a bit of an unknown how we were going to go this year. There wasn’t a huge expectation. Because we’ve gone so well, it’s been above and beyond everyone’s wildest dreams. Success does breed success,” he added.
“When you have results, you can afford to pick and choose. When you do that, you tend to go better than when you are chasing results, taking every opportunity.”