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Interview with Baden Cooke by Nick Bull
 
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 11/9/2002
Interview with Baden Cooke by Nick Bull
 

Interview with Baden Cooke
by Nick Bull

Photo courtesy of baden-cooke.com
I was recently very lucky to be allowed to ask Baden Cooke, the up-and-coming Australian rider, some questions. I would like to thank him and the people behind his official website who allowed me to ask Baden some questions. The results are very interesting.

Q. Going right back to the start now: how did you get started in Cycling?

As a youngster I tried most sports like all kids, and cycling brought me the most success straight away, so I stuck with it.

Q. Did you have any childhood heroes?

Phil Anderson was in his prime when I was young, so I always looked up to him.

Q. You achieved some good results in your day as a junior. Are there any that stand out in particular, and are there any races that you feel you should have won in your younger days?

When I was young I never really knew my strengths, and never really knew how to race, so I never really won much. I should have won more with the ability I had.

Q. After such a promising start for the Under 23 Australian team, how frustrating was it to miss the 1999 season through injury?

1999 was the worst year of my life, I dealt badly with the injury and dealt badly with my situation. The only good thing to come from it all was that I came out of it wanting to race more than ever.

Q. How hard was it for you to gain full fitness and become the rider that saw you win, for example, the Bendigo Madison in 1998, after your achilles operation?

Surprising enough I came back to form very quickly, and was able to win straight up. I continued doing gymwork throughout my injury, so kept some strength.

Q. After the operation you came back as strong as before, becoming Australian champion in the Madison,and winning a stage and the points competition in the Rapport Tour: did you find that these victories in particular helped you to gain a place with the Mercury team for the 2000 season?

Of course, before the win in South Africa I had had no contact with any teams, and soon after, I had a choice of three teams.

Q. What was your best win or result in your two years at the team?

My best wins with Mercury were certainly my two stage wins at Tour d'Avenir last year.

Q. Do you have any enduring memories from the time you spent with the squad?

The memories from Mercury that stick with me the most are certainly of the great friendships I made there. It was amazing just how hard guys would ride, when they were riding for friends.

Q. 2002 has been an excellent season, your first with La Francaise des Jeux. How did the move to the team come about?

I first spoke with FdJ after my win in South Africa in 2000. At first we didn't come to an agreement, but after my move to Mercury, and my better results, we got back in contact through Brad McGee, and worked on coming to an agreement.

Q. Your results this year have been excellent this year- which ones stand out for you?

I am very proud of all 9 of the wins I had this year, but Travers Flanders, Paris-Correze and the Herald Sun Tour are my most prized.

Q. I was reading an article with Eric Zabel the other day, and he reckons that you will win the Green Jersey in the Tour de France in the near future. How does praise from successful riders make you feel?

It is good because I have so much respect for Eric, but I don't take too much notice of predictions.

Q. As this season draws to a close, what would you like to achieve in 2003 and the forthcoming years.

Simple, stage win TdF, win a World Cup, win green jersey.

As I have previously said, I would like to thank Jean-Francois Quenet and everyone at www.baden-cooke.com, and, obviously, Baden, for taking the time to answer my questions.

Photo courtesy of baden-cooke.com

Baden Cooke

Born on the 12th of October 1978 in Benalla (Australia).
Nationality: Australian.
Single.
1,78m; 73kg.
Lives in Nice, France, and Melbourne, Australia.
Studies: Victoria Certificate of Education.
Started cycling in 1989 with the Benalla CC: Won his first race in Benalla (C grade).

Palmares

Junior:
1995: silver medallist in the Australian road race championship,
1996: Australian champion for points score,
Silver medallist in the Australian criterium championship,
15th in the individual time trial world championship in Slovenia.

Under 23, member of the Australian National team:
1997: Bronze medallist in the individual poursuit Australian championship,
Bronze medallist in the team poursuit and Madison track world cup event,
1998: Winner of the Bendigo Madison,
1999: Off the bike because of an achilles operation,
2000: Winner of the Bendigo Madison,
Australian champion for Madison,
Stage winner and points competition winner of the Rapport Toer in South Africa,
2nd in a stage in the Tour of Japan.

Professional with Mercury:
2000:
Stage winner in the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic in the USA,
Winner of two stages in the Cascade Classic in the USA,
Winner of the Prix des Blés d’Or (Mi-Août bretonne) in France,
3rd in a stage of the Tour de l’Avenir in France,
Winner of three stages in the Sun Tour in Australia.

2001:
2nd in the Melbourne to Sorrento in Australia,
Winner of the San Diego criterium in the USA,
Winner of the St-Valentin criterium in the USA,
Stage winner in the Sea Otter Classic in the USA,
Stage winner in the Solano Classic in the USA and 6th overall,
Winner of the Phoenix Criterium in the USA,
9th in the Trophée des Grimpeurs (climbers trophy) in France,
2nd in a stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk and 11th overall,
4th in a stage of the Tour of Picardie,
5th in the First Union Invitational in Trenton in the USA,
Winner of two stages in the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic in the USA,
Winner of the Tour of Arlington in the USA,
Winner of two stages and the overall in the Wendy’s International Classic in the USA,
Winner of two stages and the points classification in the Tour de l’Avenir, 6th overall.

In 2002, with La Française des Jeux:
3rd and 4th in stages of the Tour Down Under in Australia,
3rd in a stage of the Tour of the Mediterranean in France,
15th in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in Belgium,
3rd and 5th in stages of Paris-Nice in France,
Winner of Across Flanders in Belgium,
5th in a stage of the Criterium International in France,
Stage winner in the Circuit des Mines in France,
15th in the GP Villers-Cotterêts in France,
Stage winner in the GP Midi Libre in France,
Winner of the Tro Bro Leon in France,
2nd in the prologue of the Dauphiné in France (first: Bradley McGee),
2nd in a stage of the Route du Sud in France,
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th and 12th in stages in the Tour de France (4th in the points competition),
Bronze medallist in the road race of the Commonwealth Games,
2nd, 5th and 8th in stages of the Tour du Limousin in France,
3rd in the GP Ouest-France in Plouay in France,
5th in Paris-Brussels in Belgium.
1st overall, two stages, Herald Sun Tour.

 
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