Spain's Oscar Pereiro has revealed the reasons behind his decision to sign for Astana, admitting he didn’t want his career to end with him quitting at a feed zone in the Pyrenees during this year’s Tour de France.
“I don’t think that a rider who has won the Tour de France should retire in a feed zone but should find some other way of doing so.That’s why I’ve decided to take up the chance to ride for another year and quit when the time is right," the the 2006 Tour winner told El Progreso newspaper in his home region of Galicia.
Pereiro said he had committed himself to Astana two weeks ago but had agreed not to make the news public until Alberto Contador had made clear whether or not he would ride for the Kazakhstan-backed squad. That news was confirmed yesterday.
He talk about his decision to pull out of the Tour de France in July and his thoughts on quitting cycling. “After that I was bored, tired and disappointed," Pereiro continued. "I said that I wanted to quit and stuff like that, but in the end, thankfully, my passion for the sport returned and now I’m looking ahead.
“It was down to the accumulation of a lot of things. In the 20km from the Envalira pass to the feed zone where I decided to quit I thought about things a lot and I’m one of those people that when something goes through their head they stick by it... A lot of little things changed my opinion [about quitting] – getting away from the bike, being with my family and friends, enjoying the summer. I reached a moment where I felt relaxed.”
Pereiro admitted that things changed for him when he crashed out of the 2008 Tour with injuries that put his career in jeopardy.
“That was a turning point in my life. My way of thinking changed a lot and I began to value things that I’d not put any value on before. My ambition and desire to get back to racing perhaps ended up loading me with too much pressure at the last Tour de France.”
He acknowledged that his Tour win was always likely to be a one-off event given the type of rider he is, but that he felt obliged to respond to his own and other people’s desire to be a contender for the yellow jersey again.
“I’m not a rider who is going to be a candidate to win the Tour year after year,” he admitted. “I am one of the best riders in the race as I’ve shown, apart from in the last two years, by finishing in the top 10. However, apart from in very unusual circumstances as was the case in 2006, it would be very difficult for me to win the Tour... I was the first to admit that I wasn’t going to win the Tour again.”