Posted by Editoress on 02/26/04
Volta ao Algarve last Stage and Interview with Mike Barry
by Andrew Feenstra
As you are aware I have been following the 30th Volta ao Algarve in Portugal from February 18th to 22nd, paying particular attention to fellow Canadian Mike Barry. This race was the first of many for Mike and his fellow USPS teamates in the 2004 season, and they were certainly the class of the field.
Photos from last day of racing.
Race notes from final stage:
Crowds were very big on the last stage of the 30th Volta ao Algarve. The 178.5 KM, 5th stage ended with a Cat 2 climb. The winds were very brisk, and it was only about 12 degrees, with overcast conditions and some occasional rain downpours. This made it even harder on the competitors.
As the fans were waiting at the top of the climb for the competitors to arrive, the organizers had arranged for a little celebration which included traditional Portuguese dance and clothing et al. Many people brought their BBQ's and setup a small camp area where beer and wine flowed freely, very similar to the American tailgate parties at a football game.
As the riders began to arrive on the climb, the crowds went nuts, cheering and yelling for every participant passing by.
Mike and I tried a few times to arrange a sit down interview, but unfortunately we couldn't get togther so I emailed Mike a few questions.
AF. How was the first race of the season (Volta ao Algarve)?
MB. Awesome. We went in expecting Floyd and Vic to do well overall, and especially in the TT, but had no idea that the team would be on such good form. We all came out very motivated and psyched for the coming races.The race itself was quite tough, hard hilly courses with lots of wind and a bit of foul weather, but the competition not too fierce-and an ideal race to start the year off with.
AF. How goes your conditioning?
MB. I think my fitness is quite good at the moment although I have quite a bit of improving to do before I am really on form. I was sick for 10 days after our training camp so that has slowed me a little. But, I am feeling closer and closer to being back on track-week long stage races certainly help this.
AF. What's up next for you?
MB. This weekend I am doing a single day race in the south of Spain, Almeria and then next week Ill be in Murcia for the Vuelta Murcia, a short stage race.
AF.What do you think your chances are too make the tour team?
MB. I'll have to see how the season progresses. There is a long list from which 9 will be selected in the middle of June. It will be a tough task to make the team as USPS has definitely found a winning formula but at the same time I am closer than I have been in past seasons as I was able to complete the Vuelta well last year and now have a three week race under my belt.
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