News feature, March 11, 2006
Liberty Seguros sprinter Allan Davis had to quit Paris-Nice today because of ongoing stomach problems. But the Australian will return to his European home in the Basque country tomorrow to overcome the bug - and eventually get ready for the "Primavera" next Saturday, a race the man from Bundaberg feels very much attracted to.
"Two days ago, I got stomach illness," Davis told Cyclingnews in the team's hotel off Digne-les-Bains on Friday evening. "On the first mountain stage, I had vomiting on the last 50 kilometres, and in the evening I had a bit of diarrhoea and I felt it yesterday. Today, I started again with the same feelings on the bike, so I had to stop and hopefully recover before next Sunday.
"I'm very happy with my form so I don't want to ruin it. I've trained the whole off-season for now, and I'm only a little bit away from a good victory, I think. If I can recover this weekend and train well over the next week, I should be good for Milano-San Remo."
So was it very frustrating to get second behind the world champion three times in this race? "A little bit!" Davis responded. "To try your best is the first thing, and I did do that. There was a little bit of bad luck - would have been nice to win just one, but I'll try again."
Two of the sprint finishes in Paris-Nice were uphill, but Boonen still got the upper hand even though Davis also performs well in that kind of terrain. "Yes, I don't mind uphill finishes actually," he commented. "Suits my style of sprinting more than flat sprints."
But overall, the 25 year-old is satisfied with his performance, especially as it gave him a positive feeling on his current form. "This week's been pretty good - good training and a great preparation for next week," Davis continued. "It would have been good to get the result just for my confidence, and for the team. But I still leave this Paris-Nice with good feelings, I'm happy. Hopefully keep it going for next week."
Asked what his goal for the 'Classicissima' was next Sunday, he replied, "At Milano-San Remo, of course my goal is to win! But we've got a couple of options in our team; there will be Vinokourov as well and Vicioso, another guy who's riding very well at the moment. San Remo is a classic that I've always admired and I think it suits my characteristics as a bike rider, so I'd love to do well there."
One of the great winners of San Remo, Erik Zabel once said that he would have liked Davis at T-Mobile to benefit from his experience... Did he sometimes miss an elder sprinter on his team? "Well, first of all it was very nice hearing those remarks from Erik," Davis began by saying.
"I respect him as a bike rider very much, I've looked up to him in all my younger years. I know I'm still quite young, and maybe in the future I will have someone like Erik in the team - but for the moment I'm happy with Liberty and my teammates. They help me a hundred percent, and I do the same back for them. Sure, they're not leading me out in the sprint, but during the race, they keep me out of the wind and other stuff. In the future, things might change, but at the moment I feel I'm just progressing in the right way. I have confidence in Manolo, and he has confidence in me, in my progression. So hopefully I'll keep it going in that same direction, just like in the last couple of years."