By Jean-François Quénet
At the age of 32, Bradley McGee remains a major player in modern cycling, although he hasn't won a single road race in three years – since taking stage three in the 2005 Tour of Switzerland. The Australian also loves his sport more than ever and looks at the Tour of Italy with the possibility of becoming a winner again in his lead up to his fourth Olympic Games as a track rider.
He collected one more medal (bronze in the team pursuit) at the track World's in Manchester and went back to road racing in April. "The Tour de Georgia was a perfect race to do before the Tour of Italy," he said. He started with a seventh place in stage one and pulled the sprints for his CSC team-mate Juan José Haedo. "I started to feel my good old sensations, things like a deep sleep and hunger that I hadn't enjoyed for years."
When he joined the Danish team, he asked to get nominated for the Giro d'Italia, the Grand Tour where he claimed his best overall finish with an eighth place in 2004, under the colours of Française des Jeux. In 2006, he was second in the prologue, but was forced to pull out because of sciatic problems. He started his new Italian campaign one week in advance, with a warm up at the GP Larciano and the Tour of Tuscany.
"I'm pumped! I love the Giro," he said, while looking at the marvelous landscapes of Sicily. "Six of us riding the Giro stayed together in Lucca for five days, training for the team time trial. The competition will be tight, with Slipstream and now Astana as well, but we have a big chance to win it." With the likes of Jens Voigt, Stuart O'Grady, Gustav Larsson, Nicky and Chris Anker Sørensen, Michael Blaudzun, Jason McCartney and Anders Lund around McGee, CSC will be hard to beat on the 23.6-kilometre flat course around the region's capital of Palermo.
"There's no way I'll put my hands up for GC but everything else, I'll have a crack," McGee promised. He won't be at the Tour de France for the third year in a row, but he'll ride the Dauphiné Libéré one week after the Giro. That will be his last road race prior to his Olympic track schedule. "The British riders [Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish from High Road] also have the same preparation plan with the Giro," he noticed.
Beijing will be McGee's fourth Olympics. In Atlanta, Sydney and Athens, he got a medal in the individual pursuit. He's also the defending champion with his Australian mates in the team pursuit. He might have been in search of a big result on the road for a long time now, but his days aren't over.
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