August 18, 2005 – In the last two weeks I have changed my focus as I was asked by the team if I was interested in racing at the Tour of Spain.
My training has been solid and consistent and I have spend many days since then training in the mountains with my teammate Tom Danielson. Riding with him in the hills is an amazing experience. Never have I ridden with someone who can climb so fast up hill. He is motivated for the Vuelta and it will be interesting to see how he does there. There are a total of nine mountain top finishes so he will have plenty of opportunity to stretch his legs in the mountains.
I am excited to race the Vuelta once again – we have a great team and the course this year takes us very close to Girona (where I live in Spain) and we will spend a lot of time in the Pyrenees. In past years we have raced through the south of Spain where the roads are wider, more open to the wind, and the countryside arid. Regardless, it should be an interesting race where the climbers will excel.
The 2005 course suits the climbers but they will need strong teams to guide them on the flat days through central Spain. The roads are often wide open to the wind, straight and dangerous if echelons form and teams cooperate to increase the time gaps. Roberto Heras is once again the favorite although there are sure to be many riders that will challenge him. Each year a new name pops to the top of the classification at the Vuelta and surprises the favorites.
The Vuelta is a tough race as the speeds are always very high, the peloton of Spaniards is extremely motivated to perform at home, while many foreigners find it hard to push the pedals so late in the season-some riders fly while others suffer.
For more about Michael Barry, including his first book, “Inside the
Postal Bus” visit www.michaelbarry.ca