By Anthony Tan in Valkenburg
Resplendent in his national champion's stripes of Holland - and for the third time in his career - charismatic Dutchman Michael Boogerd is ready the Boogie-Woogie his way through his eleventh Tour de France.
Speaking to Cyclingnews shortly before the kick-off in Strasbourg, a congratulations was first in order before asking him the significance of his third Dutch title. "It's always important to win - especially when it's the national championship. You want to have the jersey, and I want to show it in the Tour," said a fired-up Boogerd.
Interesting is that the team's two oldest riders, Boogerd and Erik Dekker, 34 and 36 years-old respectively, behave like two of the youngest. At their national championships two Sundays ago, Rabobank general manager Theo De Rooy said their faces looked like a pair of juniors on the start line in Maastricht: "A heartbeat of 120, waiting for the start, then 'Whoof!', full gas y'know, like, 'Let's see if we can make a decisive split on the first lap of this circuit'," he recalled.
"That's the quality of these riders," said De Rooy. "As far as Erik Dekker was concerned, the strange thing is, two or three years ago, he was already expressing his doubts about whether he will do another Tour de France, saying, 'Well, I don't know, I've already done so many Tours de France, I think this will be my last... '
Click here for the full interview.