By Kirsten Robbins in Clovis, California, USA
Rock Racing sport director Rudy Pevenage is enjoying being back in cycling, having joined the outfit at the end of last year. The former T-Mobile team suspended Pevenage in 2006, along with Jan Ullrich and Oscar Sevilla, for their involvements with the Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.
"Cycling was always my life," said Pevenage. "I was a professional for 14 years and I was a directeur sportif for 16 years. At 55, I'd like to stay in this sport. If I can still be active in this sport then it is a good feeling to do what you like to do."
Pevenage encountered Team Columbia-Highroad, formerly called T-Mobile, for the first time since his dismissal at this year's Tour of California. Pevenage said many things have changed during his two years away from the sport.
"It is a little bit strange but this part of my life has passed and I am looking into the future," he said. "I learned a lot of things in the two years that I spent at home. One was that I always have to think of myself first.
"I did a lot of things to help a lot of people in the past," he added. "When you are at home alone, no one is calling you. It is a good lesson in life. Me and my family come first. I am happy to be here now."
Pevenage had a cycling career of his own, with a management career that included time at Telekom/T-Mobile in 1994-2002 and Coast/Bianchi in 2003. He guided Ullrich to victory at the 1997 Tour de France victory and three of his protégés swept the podium at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia: Ullrich, Alexander Vinokourov and Andreas Klöden.
"I was motivated [to join Rock Racing] because Oscar Sevilla called me many times and said it would be nice if I came with the team because I had some experience and some changes were needed," Pevenage said. "The motivation was there for the riders and staff and it could be a nice moment."