By Shane Stokes in Granada
When Brad McGee thunders out of the start house today at 16:57 CEST, he'll have one thought in mind: trying to add the maillot oro to the pink jersey of Giro leadership and yellow of the Tour de France which are already in his wardrobe. The 29 year old Australian got it tough in the Tour due to injury, and was then sidelined afterwards when his wounds from a final stage crash got infected. He's only raced once since then, riding the Classic de l'Indre Trophée Fenioux in France last Sunday, but is hoping that freshness and enthusiasm will make up for his lack of competition.
"I have got the Giro [lead], the Tour, and this is the one little jersey I don't have," he told Cyclingnews after the Vuelta team presentation in Granada's Paseo del Salon last night. "I am really hungry for it. I haven't seen the course yet but on paper it looks good. It has a nice climb, it is quite technical. If I am on, I am on and it is doable."
Although McGee finished 8th overall in the Giro last year, he says that he has no aspirations for general classification here. "I've nothing planned as far as GC goes," he stated. "Look, we are in Spain, I never raced here before apart from [the Tour of] Pays Basque. I don't know the riders, I don't know the roads, I don't know how it happens. I am here just to re-find my racing form and have fun with it, and hit some stages really hard. I am looking at the world championships as well."
Although some felt that the FDJ rider could one day win a three-week Tour, McGee has now decided that is beyond him. "A one-week Tour, yeah. A three-week Tour, no. It is about time I accepted that, refocused on new goals on what is realistic, what works for me and the team.
"I have definitely got the capabilities for a strong GC ride, it is there, but I think it is too much of a risk to focus it all on one three-week race. Let's face it, I thought that top 10 or top 20 was good in the Tour, but I can't tell you who was 10th in the Tour this year. We have taken that [goal] away and realised that I should focus on races such as Paris-Nice, the Tour de Suisse, and races like that. When I hit three-week Tours, I will now target stages, time trials and prologues."
McGee's plan is to do just that in this Vuelta, although he admits that he's not sure how his form will hold up in the race. "I've no idea how I am going," he said. "I have raced one day since the Tour de France, last Sunday. But it was good, I was happy with how it went...a 200 kilometre race in France. I really only climbed out of bed a week ago, I have been down ever since the Tour finished. I had some injuries, and then infections, and things like that. But I am happy to be here, and mentally I'm really good."
Cyclingnews will have a full interview with Brad McGee shortly