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Oscar Pereiro: One Hard Working Bike Rider
By Staff
Date: 3/29/2007
Oscar Pereiro: One Hard Working Bike Rider

Oscar Pereiro: One Hard Working Bike Rider
Interview and profile of Oscar Pereiro, second in the 2006 Tour de France and co-leader of Team Caisse d'Epargne. Photos

By Sara Best

Oscar Pereiro was born on August 3, 1977 in Pontevedra, Spain and began cycling in 1990 at the age of 13 when he entered his first bike race.

Stage 18 Tour de France: Oscar Pereiro slips into the Maillot Jaune 
Photo c. Ben Ross

Pereiro began his professional cycling career in 2000 with the Porta da Ravessa team. In 2002 he signed with Swiss-based team Phonak where he stayed until moving to Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears in 2005.

He won a stage of the Tour of Switzerland in 2003 and in 2004, Pereiro won the Classic of the Alps. He made his Tour de France debut in 2004 finishing 10th. During the 2005 Tour he won stage 16 from Mourenx to Pau on his way to another 10th overall finish.

Oscar at camp in Mallorca.  photo c. Abarca Sports and Caisse d'Epargne

At the 2006 Tour de France Pereiro became the Caisse d'Epargne team's primary rider after Alejandro Valverde crashed and fractured a collarbone in the third stage. The Spaniard ended up wearing the yellow jersey for five days and standing on the podium in Paris finishing second overall to Floyd Landis.

Riders in the yellow jersey can feel enormous pressure, but the jersey can also motivate the wearer, "It was a motivation for me, no doubt about it," said Pereiro. "When I wore it I was really happy; it wasn't at all a pressure for me. It felt very good to wear the yellow jersey. If I could, I would wear it for 21 more days next year!"

Team captains, Oscar and Alessandro Valverde at the team presentation.
photo c. Abarca Sports and Caisse d'Epargne

This year Pereiro and Valverde will be co-leaders for the Caisse D’Epargne team. And Pereiro has been positive but modest about his chances at the Tour this year. He has noted that many of the top riders who were suspended from riding last year as a result of Operation Puerto will be back this year and that a repeat podium finish may not be in the cards for him.

During some down-time while racing at the Vuelta a Castilla y León in Spain, Pereiro answered a few questions from the Daily Peloton.

Oscar relaxing at camp in Mallorca earlier this year.
photo c. Abarca Sports and Caisse d'Epargne

Sara Best: How has training been going so far? Are you feeling good? Is the team feeling strong?

Oscar Pereiro: Up until now I haven’t been training very hard, but now, starting with the Vuelta a Castilla y León, I will train very hard again. The fact is that I feel very well and even if my condition is not great yet, my level is already good for the beginning of a season. The team has very big objectives and after the excellent results we had last year, we would like to be able to do as well this year.

Sara Best: How do you know when the form is good, and what do you do to keep it?

Oscar Pereiro: When my weight reaches 67 kg and when I don’t suffer too much while climbing the big mountains. Normally I will be okay to fight to win races from May on.

SB: Any replacements on the horizon for a team sponsor?

Oscar: The cyclists know nothing about those things because this is something only the team directors manage.

Sara: When did you start cycling and how did you know that this was what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?

Oscar: In fact I played soccer first and then I took part in a cycling race just to see what it was like. I liked it and from then I am still racing!

Sara: How did it feel to put that yellow jersey on for the first time after stage 13 at the Tour de France last year?

Oscar: This is every rider’s dream and for me this dream came true. I saw it like a reward for many years of efforts and training hard on the bike.

Sara: I have heard that you and Floyd Landis had breakfast together alone on the morning of stage 17. What did you two talk about?

Oscar: We were having breakfast in the same room because we were staying in the same hotel, but each one eating with his own team. We said “good luck” to each other.

Sara: You have been very modest about your expectations for yourself at the Tour de France this year. What are your goals going into the race?

Oscar: To be one of the protagonists.

Sara: With everything that you’ve been through over the past year and all the media attention has it ever felt like too much? Do you look forward to riding the Tour de France just as much this year as you did in the past or has the experience of the last year tainted it in any way?

Oscar: It changed my life a lot. At the beginning it was not easy to cope with. It was unexpected, such a great thing and you have to learn to deal with new situations; but I think I adapted pretty well and that’s something positive.

Sara: I read that your wife Maria watched the Tour last year on TV but that she had to turn it off during your descents because she’s too frightened to watch. Does she still feel that way? Does she worry about you?

Oscar: We have been together for 11 years and she has been at my side from the beginning, in all the situations, the good ones and the bad ones. She is always very anxious when she watches me in the descents though. That’s true!

Oscar and his son on the final podium of the Tour de France 2006.
Photo c. Ben Ross

Sara: And your son must be almost a year and a half old now. It was such an adorable picture with you holding him on the podium in Paris last year with the little Caisse-d'Epargne hat on. How do you juggle the demanding life of a pro cyclist with responsibilities of a young family?

Oscar:I don’t spend as much time at home with my family as I would like to, but when I am at home I try to enjoy every minute with my wife and our son.

Sara: Do you hope that your son will follow in your footsteps and enter the world of pro cycling?

Oscar: I will never force him to do one thing rather than another. I will teach him various sports and he will be the one who will choose which one he wants to practice, but no matter what, his studies will prevail.

Oscar Pereiro photo c. Abarca Sports and Caisse d'Epargne

Oscar Sio Pereiro has made 29 appearances on the podium during his career starting with the U-23 Championship of Spain in Cyclocross as national champion.

Selected Palmares (age):
1998: U-23 National Cyclocross Champion
1999: 2nd National Cyclocross Championships
2001Victories: (24)
Grand Prix  Amadora
Stage 3 GP Amadora
2002: (25)
Stage 5 Setmana Catalana de Ciclismo
11th Giro d'Italia General Classification
2003: (26)
Stage 6 Tour de Suisse
3rd Tour de Suisse General Classification
2nd Vuelta Ciclista a Burgos General Classification
2004: (27)
Classique des Alpes
10th Tour de France General Classification
2005: (28)
Cyclocross Mos, Spain
3rd Paris - Nice Mountains classification
Prologue Tour de Romandie
2nd Tour du Romandie Points classification
Stage 16 Tour de France, Pau
10the Tour de France General Classification
2nd Tour de France Climbers Jersey
25th Vuelta a España General Classification 
2006: (29)
2nd - Tour de France Stage 13
3rd - Tour de France Stage 16
2nd Tour de France General Classification
49th Vuelta a España General Classification
Vitoria GP
Hospitalet Criterium

Sponsor: Caisse d' Epargne

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