Baden Cooke - Interview
Forearms van Petegem does a "lightning round" of questions with Baden Cooke
covering the 2006 season, his favorite races, team mates, rivals and targets for
By Forearms van Petegem
Baden Cooke leapt onto the pro scene in 2001 in his second year on the ill
fated Mercury/Viatel team with two stage wins in the tour de l'Avenir 2.
"Cookie" as his fans have nicked him. The then 24 year old followed up in 2002
with 5 victories after signing with La Française des Jeux in the first of what
would be four years with the French outfit.
In 2003 Cooke added ten victories to his young palmares with wins Tour's of
Méditerranéen and Suisse. In July in Stage 2 le Tour France Cookie beat
some familiar super sprinter names: Jean Nazon, Jan Kirsipuu, Erik Zabel, Thor
Hushovd, Robbie Mc Ewen and Paolo Bettini and Fred Rodriguez to the line for the
win, not a bad year for the 25 year old.
"Unbelievable" was the first reaction of Victorian Baden Cooke, 24, (FDJeux.com)
today when he achieved a career high in claiming the
crown in the Centenary Tour de France after a titanic three week struggle
with fellow Australian and 2002 green jersey winner, Queensland’s Robbie McEwen
2004 the collection of victories grew by 11 (7- stage wins) with the addition
of the sprinters jerseys at Tour Méditerranéen and 3 Days of De Panne. Although
Baden may have been disappointed with 12th in the sprinters competition at the
tour, he could still count the year as a success after finishing his second tour
at the age of 24.
2005, his last year at Française des Jeux was not Cooke's best year; plagued
with injuries and some problems at the team, he was destined to leave. A crash on
stage 4 of
the Giro with finish, had him driven to the barriers at 60 meters out as
he came on strong for the win; Cookie still managed to collect 4th place. As
Locutus reflected on the incident in his
Report for that day...
Baden "Capo" Cooke (FDJeux.com).
My my, the Australian-Italian War of 2005 took another very dramatic
turn today. After Lancaster took the first Pink Jersey, then Bettini surged to
take the prize for Italy. Then the Petacchi/McEwen rivalry heated up after
allegations of the Aussie Champ using suspect tactics to box in the Italian star
while taking the Pink Jersey. Then today, Bettini—once again in the Pink
Jersey—took that left turn on the way to the finish line that sent Cooke
somersaulting off the barriers. Cooke had ridden the perfect race, and was in
the process of coming around Bettini to smoke him in the sprint. Then BOOM! an
irregular move by Bettini costs him the race. Bettini's attempts to apologize
were testily rebuffed by Cooke, and then the war of words between the Italians
and the Aussie Sprint Mafia took it up another notch. Tomorrow is another day
for the strong men, so the sprinters will have a rough go of it. However, there
are hard feelings all over the peloton now and the serious "flicking" will be
sure to escalate in the days to come.
Baden continued to add his name to the record books in spite of the bad start
to the year with three stage wins from the Tour of Poland and the
Herald Sun Tour on his home turf in Oz.
Cooke led off 2006 joining the Belgium team Unibet.com with victories in the
Grand Prix La Marseillaise, Stage 2 of the Peace Race, and Halle Ingooigem.
Looking forward to next year Baden may be cast as the leader of the Unibet
team in the Tour in 07, hopefully and be back mixing it up in the bunch kicks
and the chase for another Maillot Vert. As we've seen with Casper, Cookie
can retain his punch and winning form.
But the season isn't over and Baden has a few more tricks in his legs before
the fat lady sings....
FvP: Sprinter or one-day man?
Baden Cooke: Both, I love getting
involved in the excitement of a bunch sprint, but I also enjoy the tactics at
the end of a one day race, the foxing and the suffering.
FvP: Night life,
Nice, Melbourne, or Monaco? (favourite nightclub in each locale please)
Baden Cooke: Melbourne of course, I don't
go out much in Monaco. (ed, unfortunately Baden
failed to furnish us with nightclub recommendations)
FvP: Paris Roubaix or Flanders?
Baden Cooke: Paris Roubaix
FvP: 2007 objective?
Baden Cooke: Roubaix and le Tour
FvP: Unibet Protour aspirations? Green light from
Baden Cooke: From everything I hear we
have the green light. This is very exciting for everyone at the team who worked
so hard to make it happen.
FvP: Matt Wilson, some good rides in his short
career in Flanders, and a nice 03 Milan San Remo, can he break through for a top
10 in Flanders?
Baden Cooke: Anything is possible, he is
much better when the races are longer, so any of the flatter, longer classics
suit him well.
FvP: You have said you never train your kick, and
only did so in the weeks leading up to the tour, how much extra punch do you
have up your sleeve if you are working only on your "Classic" (260 km race)
Baden Cooke: It is like anything, if you
don't train it, it doesn't work. I've been doing some more sprint training
lately and hopefully well see the difference at Paris Tours.
FvP: Bradley McGee, opinion on his future career
direction, is Tour de Suisse a wise objective and within his capacities?
Baden Cooke: Brad is capable of winning
any of the week long pro tour tours, as well as high placings in the grand tours
if everything is going his way. When he is on form and has a team that can back
him the tour de Suisse would be well within his reach.
FvP: Injuries, been a good year?
Baden Cooke: Yeah not too bad, my
Achilles was playing up at Tour of Britain, but it has settled down now.
FvP: 2006 in retrospect, are you satisfied?
Baden Cooke: My year has been reasonably
good, I have 4 nice wins so far and have been in the front of the results all
year. I'll be satisfied if I get one more win.
what is his jump like from a rival's perspective?
Baden Cooke: Robbie is very explosive.
Even when he is not on top form he is still always very explosive.
FvP: Hunt, Zanotti, Cooke, how's the teamwork?
Baden Cooke: Quite well. Jeremy and I are
good friends and have been working together all year, and now as we get to know
Marco better our train is starting to take shape. I think next year it should
come together much better.
FvP: Hell ride?
last time you rode? (ed. Hell Ride is a famous Australian amateur and recreation
ride, that pulls a peloton of 200 at times in summer for a 50 kilometre loop at
45 km/h that is notorious for danger, thus the serious riders have avoided it
Baden Cooke: I think it must be like 2
years ago. I'm still yet to win a hell ride.
FvP: Tattoos, inspiration and descriptions?
Baden Cooke: I've got a few tattoos, the
main one across my back says 'Driven', it represents my personality as being
driven in everything that I do.
FvP: Driven, business: philosophy and vision, with
description of your merchandise?
Baden Cooke: At the moment a good friend
of mine and I are working very hard on the Driven clothing label. When released
we'll have all sorts of cool street wear for those who are driven in what they
do. It should be in the shops some time in 07.
Thanks Baden for your time. Good Luck at Paris Tours and for 2007.
Born October 12, 1978 Benalla, Australia
(54 career wins - 114 top ten finishes - most of which were podium
2006 4 wins so far
Grand Prix La Marseillaise
Peace Race stage 1
Course de la Paix stage 1
Giro stage 1 4th
Tour of Poland stage
Herald Sun Tour 2 stages
Jayco Bay Cycling Classic 2 stages
Tour Down Under stage
GP Ouverture La Marseillaise
Tour Méditerranéen 2 stages
Driedaagse van De Panne-Koksijde stage
Herald Sun Tour 3 stages
Tour Méditerranéen sprinters competition
3 Days of De Panne sprinters competition
Jacob Creek’s Tour Down Under 2 stages
Tour Méditerranéen stage
Tour de Suisse stage
Tour de France stage
Kampioenschaap van Vlaanderen
Tour de France sprinters competition
Dwaars door Vlaanderen
GP Cycliste du Midi Libre stage
Herald Sun Tour 2 stages
Tour de l'Avenir 2 stages
2000: Mercury Cycling Team
2002 - 2006: La Française des Jeux