By Shane Stokes
Following a fine third place overall in the recent Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Irish road race champion David McCann has reached the end of his season and is currently is weighing up his options for 2007.
"It seems the new Tour of Hainan hasn’t invited Giant Asia, so the Sun Tour was the last one for the year," McCann said on Wednesday. "That is fine with me. I've done over 200 days racing in the last two seasons so an extended time without competing will be nice, letting me direct my training better. Saying that, I will probably be doing some track racing in the winter. I have no concrete aims in that area but I would like to see what I can do."
McCann had a very successful year, being Ireland's most consistent performer in 2006. He won the overall classification of the Tour of Indonesia, took the Irish road race championship and landed two stage victories in the Tour of Thailand plus one in the Tour of Qinghai Lake. The former Olympian also finished second in the time trials of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and the Tour de Langkawi, and was fourth on the Cameron Highlands mountain stage in the latter event.
The strong showing meant that he finished fourth in the UCI Asia Tour, with teammates Ghader Mizbani and Hossein Askari taking first and second. Unsurprisingly, the Giant Asia squad dominated the team classification, their 1379.64 points more than tripling the haul by Skil-Shimano.
McCann has ridden well during his time with the team, but is undecided about staying with them in 2007. "I'm not sure about next year. The USA is an option I have open to me, and that would be interesting. But, the recent success in the fight against doping has been brilliant. It's very encouraging for me and it leaves me wondering if I should consider returning to the rough ride of racing in Europe."
The Belfast rider sees a good side to the scandals of 2006, saying that it should improve prospects for those who want to do things in the right way. "It really does look promising that clean cyclists are actually going to have half a chance in Europe over the next few years," he states. "I only hope that Pat McQuaid, the UCI and, especially, the various police forces can build on the good work so far and actually step up the pressure to an even higher level."
Although he is now 33 years of age, he says that he has no plans to retire anytime soon. "I'm not certain how many more seasons I will keep racing, but I never really think about that. I love riding my bike and will keep doing it until I find something I want to do more. But in a few years time, to end my career back in France – I started it there with VC Pontivy, quite a while ago - well, that would have a nice symmetry to it."