Team Discovery Channel's Michael Barry Checks In With Daily Peloton
By: Ben Lyon
This week Ben Lyon of the Daily Peloton was had a chat with Michael Barry to
see what was new. Barry shares with us his views on the Pro Tour, his Giro
goals, a new book and more.
Michael is coming into 2006 after a great 2005 season, and with a team that is
ready to show that even without Armstrong at the helm they are stacked with
Michael will start his season with the spot in the Amgen Tour of California and
then is scheduled to race Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano San Remo,Tour of Flanders,
Paris-Roubaix, Tour de Georgia, and the Giro d'Italia.
Q: It has been a while since we last caught up with you, tell us; how was
your Christmas and time off the bike? It must have been a special Christmas, the
first one with the Baby.
Michael Barry: The off season was great. It was a lot of fun spending a few
months straight with Liam and Dede. We took a few trips back east to Toronto and
Milwaukee to visit friends and family and then got settled in Boulder for the
winter. We did a lot of walking around town with Liam-it is amazing as each day
is a new adventure with him. I don’t think Liam realized what Christmas was all
about, or that it was even a special day, but he certainly liked the wrapping
paper and all the attention from the Grandparents, aunts, uncles and nieces. As
for my training it went well as we had some great weather for most of the
winter. It stayed dry and fairly warm so I was up in the mountains almost daily.
I spent a lot of time training alone, as it just felt right for the moment. As I
got closer to camp I did a few rides with the local guys here in Boulder which
Q: Discovery Channel, from all the reports around seems to have pulled off
a great camp and is look incredibly strong for 2006. Definitely a little
different without Lance in the forefront, how did this change the dynamics of
Yes, we had a great camp and the team seems in great shape-perhaps the best ever
at this time of the year. One thing I noticed was that the ambiance is really
good within the group. It was different not having Lance around as he tends to
keep control of the rides setting the pace. I have been with the Classics group
over the last couple of years so I didn’t train with his group a whole lot but
from what I understand the guys went a little harder on the hills this year as
he wasn’t their to keep them in check. The work ethic within the team remains
the same and the motivation is as high as ever
Q: It has to be either a very exciting or extremely anxious feeling when
looking ahead into ’06 and big expectations made by fans and press, what’s your
outlook when look at the new season and the team’s strength?
Well, the team is very well rounded with riders that can perform well in the
Classics and the Grand Tours. The stress is no different than in past seasons-
we know we have to perform and we know we have to win.
This year is a little different as we no longer have Lance to lead the team or
to guarantee a good performance in the Tour de France. That said our team had a
great 2005 even without Lance’s Tour victory. It will be a transitional year for
the team and one that everybody, from the Directors down, is motivated to do
Q: You start your season racing the Amgen Tour of California, a race that
has raised brows and stirred up the biz a bit. So many people are on the edge of
their seats to see how well it’s pulled it off; how will you treat the race in
relation to others on your calendar like Paris-Roubaix, Flanders, or even Tour
The Tour of California is a big objective for our team and we are going there to
win. There are only a few premiere races in America and the Tour of CA is one of
them so we have to take advantage of that and perform well on home turf. It will
be a great way to start the season as the stages are challenging.
Q: What race goals have you set for yourself this year?
To start, I would like to perform well in California, the cobbled Classics and
the Giro. I have a great program this spring and we have strong teams that can
win in all of those events so I have to make the most of those opportunities.
After May, we’ll see…I would love to do the Tour de France and if not, the
Vuelta. The Worlds are a goal, and some of the end of season one day races. As
for specific goals, a stage win in a Grand Tour would be a dream come true, as
would a strong performance in a one day Classic and the Worlds.
Q: It is your first full season being a father; a lot of cyclists have
talked about getting new inspiration when they become a dad. It must be both
hard and yet motivating this year; on one side you have one more reason to give
your best, but on the other it is hard to be away. How have you been coping?
You hit it on the head. Being a Dad I have a completely new motivation and it is
so much stronger than anything I have felt before. Being away is tough but,
thank God, my wife can come to some of the races and live with me in Europe.
Q: On the other side of the globe the current rift between the UCI and the
grand tours has created major tension around the future organization of these
races and their smaller classics. How much has this been a concern for you
I think the Grand Tours should follow along with all of the other races-it will
advance cycling, a sport which is still in the dark ages when you compare it to
other sports. The problem is the Tour de France makes a lot of money, and makes
a lot off of the riders and the sport, and they are going to have to give a
little to fall in line with the Pro Tour.
Q: What are your hopes for the future of the Pro Tour?
I think it is a great idea, and it will eventually be good for the sport. The
sport needs to evolve and hopefully the Pro Tour will bring positive change.
Q: The Giro d’Italia is being labelled as a climbers tour, when you saw
the profile if this year’s Giro what where your initial impressions?
It will be a tough race, no doubt. Last year’s race was hard so I can’t imagine
them making it harder-but, I guess they did!. It will be a good race for our
team and I think Tom and Paolo can perform very well-the goal being to take the
pink jersey home with us.
Q: You had what you described as a great 2005, feeling very fit, perhaps
better than ever; how do feel coming out of Solvang this time around, better
than the 2005 season?
I feel good, better than I have in past years, and attribute it to having
completed two Grand Tours last season and racing close to 100 race days.
Q: What have been the goals of your training program?
To build my volume while increasingly my work load at my lactate threshold.
Q: I see you have a new book coming out in June 2006 called Fitness
Cycling, written together with your wife Dede and exercise physiologist Dr.
Shannon Sovndal, how did this come about? Tell us a little bit about who this
book is geared towards?
The book is geared towards beginning to intermediate cyclists and even
experienced cyclists that only have 1-3 hours to ride each day- so basically the
working person. The publisher approached us and we thought it would be a fun
project to do together. Often, we are asked questions about training, especially
from cyclists looking to get fit with minimal time to train-this book will be
able to answer a lot of those questions.
Q: What the coolest toy or equipment piece for you this year?
A new AMD Livestrong computer that we were given as a present at training camp
and a new SRM. It is always nice to get new tech stuff that runs smoothly
without any glitches.
Q: Best Movie you’ve watched this winter?
I don’t think I have seen a movie since Liam was born; our days are full now and
going to a theatre is out of the question. We did watch "La Course en Tete" as
Dede had never seen it. Awesome movie.
Q: Top 3 albums on your mp3 player?
Notorious BIG- Duets, The Postal Service Give Up, Neil Young Prairie Wind,
Arcade Fire…so many to chose from…
Q: Global Warming, concerned?
Yes, I have been concerned since I learned about it in grade school twenty years
ago. It is amazing to me that only now the majority of the population is
beginning to seriously get concerned. It is amazing to me that humans still only
react to environmental problems when they are nearly too far gone to do anything
Q: Favourite Beer and Wine?
- For wine, it depends on the evening, the country and the company. Fin du Monde
and Leffe are two of my favourite beers.
Q: Favourite item in the mussette?
Belgian Apple Tart or a Double Chocolate Powerbar.
Q: Funniest moment in Solvang?
Watching the 1988 Paris Roubaix (Dirk Demol, our director won) with Matt White
and George. Whitey was giving the commentary over Phil Liggett.