A July 1st Pre race interview with Discovery Channel’s
Michael Barry discussing the Tour de France, Lance, the Tour de Suisse and his
By Ben Lyon
With only 9 riders on each team there are a lot of pros
left to fill the roads in other Pro Tour events.
While at the same time they a racing, they will be biting a lip as the worlds
largest most gruelling race unfolds in the land of baguettes, fine art,
beautiful scenery, and of course muscle spasm, “I’m givin’ er’ all she’s got
Captain” climbs, TTs, and sprints.
So what does one do, and think when seeing their closest mates charge around
France? Well, just in time for the Tour de France Discovery Channel’s Michael
Barry took a moment of his time, after an very respectable Tour de Suisse to
share his thoughts on Le Tour, Lance, and his own cycling future.
Ben: First off, how was time at the Tour de Suisse?
We noticed that you had a few nice stages in there and looking on good form, did
it feel that way to you?
Michael: Thanks, I felt good although I was still a little tired from the
Giro. I think my fitness is good right now and once I freshen up for a few weeks
I hope I will feel even better for the second half of the year.
Ben: Anything come about in the Tour de Suisse which
you are going try and work on over the rest of the summer? And Dede, she's
expecting the new team member in short time, will you be grabbing for some
Michael: I will have a month at home in July and early August for the
arrival of the baby which will be awesome. I am not exactly sure what my
schedule will be for the 2nd half but I would like to do well in some of the one
Ben: Coming off Tour de Suisse as the media get its
usual tunnel vision on Le Tour, how does this affect your program and
concentration? You obviously will follow it extremely closely, but you do have
your own races and training. Tell me, how do you find it training and racing,
away from France while your team is the favourite for the overall, especially
with Lance riding his last Tour?
Michael: It is fun following the team on TV and the results they achieve
motivate me while I am out on the roads training.
Ben: Not riding this years episode of the Tour de
France, is it a route you think you would of liked to ride, over others?
Michael: It seems like a good course. Perhaps easier in ways than last
year but it will be a tough, exciting race regardless. I would love to do any
Tour de France no matter the course!
Ben: Stages like 10, 15, and other points throughout
the Pyrenees are sure to be tuned in to and Tivo'd, plus the time trials of
course. Is the outlook of a non-rider different than one who has to take on the
stages? What are your Ebert and Roper predictions on this course blockbuster
Michael: The mountain stages will make for exciting television and they
will be tough for the team from the gun but sometimes the harder stages for the
team are the medium mountain days as there are more attacks early on as riders
try to get into breakaways.
Well, I know from experience the hardest moments of the race are often before
the television cameras start filming. The attacks are incessant and the race
relentless. It is hard for the team to keep the race in control when riders are
fresh and are constantly attacking. So, the transitional stages will be tough on
the team and also make for exciting racing as a breakaway usually will make it
to the finish.
Ben: Guys like Basso, Vino, Ullrich, are all being
bet on as the possible dethroners of Armstrong and the crew; do any of the
contenders really stand out for you personally or, will it be more a case of
multiple riders trying to chip away at Discovery's strength, while contenders
fight it out to try and use the small attacks to bridge any time gap?
Michael: I don't think anybody will really challenge Lance and the team.
They have the most experience of any team out there and can handle almost every
situation. Vino is a standout as he can climb, time trial, and sprint. He is not
scared to unleash his viscous attack either. Otherwise, Ullrich and the other
contenders will once again race for the podium and attempt to dethrone Lance.
Ben: You will be off in Austria or Germany right?
How does racing away, while the years premiere event with your closest mates
affect concentration? The anticipation and anxiety both from focusing on your
own race and pulling for your team in France must be intense.
Michael: I will be racing in Austria. Yeah, it will be a cool month but
honestly, after I finish up in Austria my major focus will be my wife and the
birth of our child.
Ben: Riding for much of your professional career
alongside the sports arguably (as the debate never rests, but maybe this year)
greatest rider, how as Armstrong's decision to swap a San Marco for an Obus Form
made you reflect on both the past years?
Michael: Well, he has done a lot for cycling and the team and it will be
strange to line up for races next year and not have him on the line or with us
at training camps-although I imagine he will still be out there on his bike with
despite the fact he will be retired because he just can't get away from it.
Ben: Do you still feel a few more seasons left in
Michael: Yep, for sure. As long as I keep enjoying and keep progressing I
will keep at it.
Cycling post Lance, where does its future stand for you?
I have another year with Discovery so he will continue to have an impact on my
career as he will have an active role within the team even though he won't be
Daily Peloton would like to thank Michael Barry for his
time, and wishes best of luck to him and the rest the Discovery Channel team.