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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Grand Prix Amadora
Stage 3 GP Amadora
Stage 5 Setmana Catalana de Ciclismo
11th Giro d'Italia General Classification
Stage 6 Tour de Suisse
3rd Tour de Suisse General Classification
2nd Vuelta Ciclista a Burgos General Classification
Classique des Alpes
10th Tour de France General Classification
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
2nd - Tour de France Stage 13
3rd - Tour de France Stage 16
2nd Tour de France General Classification
49th Vuelta a España General Classification
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