By Bjorn Haake in Gent, Belgium
Luke Roberts is still weighing his options to ride for a team in 2009. Currently under contract for Kuota Senges, he may go back to a ProTour team. Roberts rode for CSC from 2005 to 2007.
Roberts is getting close to making a decision. "It may come as early as next week," he said to Cyclingnews. He confirmed that among the possible options is a ProTour team. "I think I can still ride at a high level." Keen on riding a few more of the big races, he said, "I did some nice races when I was with CSC, but there are also a lot of races that I didn't do."
In 2008, Roberts has been riding for Professional Continental team Kuota-Senges, a German-based team. It is the same squad that he used to race for before his CSC days, when it was called ComNet-Senges.
Roberts has special ties to Germany, for his wife is German. "I live in Germany most of the year, going back to Australia anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months per year." This year his trip home was the shorter two-week version. Roberts didn't want to spend too much time away from his pregnant wife, due in January.
Roberts gets the benefit of occasional family visits, too. "My mother was here a couple of times." That included a trip over from Down Under for his wedding last year.
Speed is king for Roberts
Roberts is doing well in Germany after making Kerpen, west of Cologne, his domicile, and a place well-known as the hometown of former Formula 1 racer Michael Schumacher. "I have a VIP ticket to the cart track," Roberts said with a smile. It is the track where Schumacher went to business before upgrading to bigger vehicles.
Roberts sticks to smaller, human-powered machines, but speed is important to him. He gets his rush on the track, such as the Six Days in Gent, where he is currently racing. "The track in Gent is special and the first time I saw it, it was really intimidating." But Roberts quickly learned the ropes.
It is his third time racing in Gent and he really enjoys it. "You have to stay very concentrated here, but it is also a lot of fun." That includes the constant hand-slings with a partner to get a speedy change. They are something with which experienced racers usually have no trouble, and Roberts typically doesn't think twice about them.
But a crash on the first day in the Milano Six Days made for a bruised rib and a lot of pain. His partner in Gent, Danish rider Marc Hesters, can chime with painful stories. He crashed in the team elimination race on the fourth night, leaving the Danish/Australian combination slightly crippled for the remainder of the race.