Oscar Pereiro, tenth in 2004, tenth in 2005, and now perhaps the winner of the biggest race in cycling? He's still waiting for the USADA vs. Floyd Landis hearing which will determine if that will be the case, but it's one of the two possible outcomes to the saga which has shaken the sport. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes sat down with the Spaniard at the pre-season training camp in Mallorca and talked about this and many other topics.
He's won a stage and been tenth twice, but when Oscar Pereiro lined out at the start of the 2006 Tour de France he didn't dare dream he had a chance of winning the biggest race in cycling. Yet that may come to pass. On May 14 Floyd Landis will have his long-awaited hearing with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA); sometime after that it will be decided if the American will lose his Tour crown, and if the title will consequently go to the Spaniard.
Ever since July 15 things have been somewhat surreal for the Galician. He had a bad day in the Pyrenees and came out of the first set of high mountains far behind the then-race leader Landis. 2004 and 2005 had seen him take top ten finishes in the event but with a repeat of that looking to be a long way from possible; stage wins were to be the new target.
At around 12.10 pm on that day Pereiro set about chasing that aim, going clear in a group a full 207 kilometres from the finish in Montélimar. He and his breakaway companions rode hard and, against all odds, their lead skyrocketed. He ended up recouping the entire 28'50" deficit he had at the start of the stage. Race leader Floyd Landis had decided it was too soon to be in yellow and with he and his Phonak team elected not to chase, the Spaniard finished the day 1'29" in front.
For the first part of Cyclingnews' Oscar Pereiro interview, click here.