February 24, 2006 — Pedal Magazine caught up with Martin Gilbert today following his elimination from the Tour of California after missing the time cut-off at yesterday’s Stage 4.
Hi Martin, you’re my go-to man since Dominique Perras must be in the mobile cell-free hills of San Luis Obispo!
Gilbert: Hey, no problem, I’m free today just getting healthy, feeling better everyday, really.
What’s the plan for today for Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada?
Gilbert: I can say that everyone on the team feels good, Jackson and Dominique and Ben are all ready, so the plan today is for Jackson and Dom to cover things at the beginning, and get Ben (Jaques-Maynes) positioned for the first break, so he can then hit the gas with the good climbers.
Today may be the last day to gain places and time against the field just as yesterday when almost all of the Kodak/Sierra Nevada riders moved up a few notches in GC. Will Dom and Ben be riding more aggressively today to climb up the GC ladder?
Gilbert: Depends on how the team does on the attacks, so if the pack explodes and there will be only a small group then yes, it will be a good time for us to get some time on the GC – better today than tomorrow or the day after for sure.
I thought that tomorrow and Sunday would have been better stages for Kodak/Sierra Nevada being that today the big CAT climbs will make or break most riders. Will today be the deciding factor for the Tour of California?
Gilbert: Well, with no hills on Sunday and not many hills on Saturday, yes, I think the GC will be decided today,.
Are you unhappy that you weren’t able to ride in yesterday’s bunch sprint finish and this weekend’s finale since it’s designed more for sprinters like you?
Gilbert: Yes, nothing to do for me now but keep getting more healthy. Yesterday and this weekend could have been very good stages for me. But you know, with my health now, I’d be following today without any gains, so then Saturday and Sunday would end up bad for me anyways.
What are you plans after Sunday?
Gilbert: Right after this race finishes on Sunday night I head to Australia for the Sydney Track World Cup, followed the Commonwealth Games from March 15-26th for both track and the road, and finally back home.I have big plans this year.
Tell us more.
Gilbert: My goals for this year are first to do well the Commonwealth Games. The Tour of California is great training for the Commonwealth Games for me. It’s really kind of early for me this time of the year to have such a long stage race, because the preparation is short and I wasn’t ready for a 40K ITT since I’m training on the track more, but it’s great for preparing for the Commonwealth Games.
Where will we see you this spring/summer season?
Gilbert: I want to do well in Georgia as there will be many good pro teams there from here and Europe. My goals are to try to win some stages in a big US race… that’s why I came here with the U.S. team to try and perform well.
And in Canada?
Gilbert:Tour de Beauce near Quebec is a key race for me. There will be seven stages in six days, good racing, and high profile for our Kodak/Sierra Nevada team.
You can show your American team to your fellow Canucks.
Gilbert: Yes, it’s a very good race for Dominique and I – we can represent Canada on our team!
Now that you are finished with this first Tour of California, was it as difficult as you thought?
Gilbert: The whole Tour was nice because there are all kinds of racing, one day a really long stage followed by a shorter stage the next day. I really enjoyed the mix of small and big hills, really perfect, good sun, very well-organized. I hope to return next year!
Any other comments?
Gilbert: No everything is good! But, sorry if I make you repeat anything as my English is not so great.
No hold it – my French is worse, so no apologies needed! Hopefully, you’ll be healthy for the upcoming World Cup race, can we contact you there?
Gilbert: Oh yes, of course, it would be my pleasure, thank you!