An interview with Scott Davis, February 10, 2007
The Davis brothers are two of Australia's batch of successful exports to Europe, with Allan gearing up for a season with the Discovery Channel team and Scott doing likewise with T-Mobile. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes spoke to the latter about his 2007 schedule, his goals, and his experience of his first year in magenta colours.
Scott Davis is heading into his second season as a ProTour rider and is hoping to land some strong results over the next few months. Prior to 2006, he moved to T-Mobile from Tenax and did a lot of riding for the team, while also finishing ninth on stages of the Tour of California and the Vuelta. This time round, he feels there may be a chance for more freedom in some races this year.
"I was pretty happy with how last season went," he told Cyclingnews recently. "I tried to many times to win but there were also many times when I had to help my teammates. When they win, it is also a victory for myself. You don't see me on television there but after the race, Michael and Klodi and all the racers are happy [with how I rode].
"Everyone's morale is a bit higher than last time. There is a totally new team and with the new management under Rolf and Bob, it is tremendous. It is more like a big family rather than a big team this year." - Scott Davis on life as part the overhauled T-mobile team.
"Obviously things must be good because I have got another two years with T-Mobile. Overall, I was happy with last season . I got good experience in new races and hopefully I can build on that in the years ahead."
Davis said that he has talked with the team during the off-season and been given a green light to do more of the events which suit him. "I spoke to Brian [Holm] and the management here and hopefully I will get my own chances to do something. That is the main reason why I have changed to doing more one-day races.
"That should suit my strengths better. It all depends on how my condition is, but normally when it is up and down in one-day races, I like that. Not dead flat. I think I am an all-rounder, a complete rider. Also, if I can get into a break and there is a 10 or 15 man sprint, then with good legs, the right timing and a bit of luck, I could do something."
Moving from Tenax to T-Mobile at the end of 2005 marked a step upwards in terms of the standard of the events he was regularly taking part in. Consequently, part of last season was spent adjusting to the new style and level of racing in the ProTour. Now, more experienced and stronger, the 27-year-old has set out clear targets and will tailor his training to suit those aims.
"I hope to go well in April with the Tour de Pays Basques, and also in Amstel, Fleche and Liège," he said. "The last part of the Classics. And I will also will do a couple in March in Belgium. But I'm really looking at April Classics in the short term and maybe to focus on perhaps the Tour of Spain in the second half of the season, the World Championships and things like that."
The last few months have been a period of great change for T-Mobile. Jan Ullrich, Andreas Klöden and several other big names have moved on, with some of those departures due to the upheavals which followed Operación Puerto and Ullrich's non-participation in the Tour. This cleanout has also coincided with a change in management and philosophy. Bob Stapleton has taken over at the top, some new directeurs sportifs have come on board and there is a strong emphasis now on doing things in a clean and fully transparent way.
The mood in the team has changed, too, with many riders stating that things are better than in 2006. Davis agrees with this. "The training camp was really good," he said on the final day of the Majorca get-together. "There has been good quality training, on and off the bike actually, this year.
"Everyone's morale is a bit higher than last time. There is a totally new team and with the new management under Rolf and Bob, it is tremendous. It is more like a big family rather than a big team this year.
"There are many new faces. We all get along very well, which helps a lot. We are doing some new things, too, we have done some pillar strength (core strength workouts) off the bike with everyone together. There is a nice feeling around this season. It is really good. In the meetings that we have had, everybody is really focused on big challenges and trying to get everything right now."
Davis was speaking prior to the start of the Tour of Qatar and said that he was confident that the team would do well in the early part of the season. "From what I have seen here this week, Klier and all the other Classics riders are going really strong. Hopefully I will get off on the right foot, too. It would be great if they could snatch something really early. They are looking really good for the early part of the year."
T-Mobile's Tour hopes
Despite losing Ullrich and Klöden, the German team are hoping to have a good performance in cycling's biggest race. "Michael and Patrik Sinkewitz are the guys for the Tour de France," he says. "That is the main goal for the T-Mobile team.
Davis has known Michael Rogers for several years and moved to the magenta squad as the same time as him. He expects his friend's upwards progression to continue. "Every year he is getting better and better. He has been 22nd and was 10th last year - he is just one of those riders who keeps on growing and hopefully he will be perhaps top five this year. And, who knows, maybe get a stage win as well.
"He is going in with good morale and he has got a good team behind him. So he is motivated for the Tour."
Davis is currently living near Rogers in the province of Varese in Northern Italy. However a change may soon be on the cards. "I am thinking about moving over to near my brother [Discovery Channel rider Allan Davis] in March or April; he is based near San Sebastian. Oenone [Wood] is thinking about moving there, too, and Aaron Kemps is already living in that area. Obviously I would hook up with Michael and do some training blocks together if he wants to. We will look at how the year pans out and work something out later."
The former world junior track champion is due to get his racing underway in the Challenge Mallorca series, these races running from February 11 15th. "I'll start with those and then I have another ten days at home before I head up to Belgium for the races there - Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, West-Vlaanderen and all those.
"I have all week up there and then there is another training camp in mid-March near Freiberg. After that, I will then start the race in Italy, the Settimana Ciclista Internazionale, then do Pays Basques, Amstel, Fleche Wallonne and continue on from there."
That's a solid block of racing but given that he is a year older, stronger and more experienced, this particular Aussie can expect some good showings this season.