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Michael Barry Report

February 5, 2005 -The Tour de Langkawi ends tomorrow with a final criterium around downtown Kuala Lumpur. We’re staying a couple of kilometers from the course and have a great view of the city. Some of the most incredible architecture in the world is here and it’s amazing how much has been built in the past twenty years.

The difference between the poor and the rich here is substantial. In the rest of the country we often raced past roadside shacks whereas here in KL it’s as affluent as any major city in the world, with coffee shops on every corner selling a cup of coffee for $3, and Mercedes rolling around every bend.

The race today went fairly well for our Discovery team considering we did not have great ambitions. Yesterday, Tom Danielson rode well up Genting Highlands but was unable to stay with the leaders in the final kilometers. We are all getting ready for competitions later in the season so we didn’t expect great results this early in the year. I felt good through most of the race but suffered a little in the heat going up Genting, but was unable to stay with the leaders with 8 kms to go. I settled into my own rhythm and rode up with out digging too deep.

Today’s stage was perhaps the hardest as far as pure racing as the speed was high from the start and the first hundred kilometers were relentlessly undulating. At one point the leader, Ryan Cox from Barloworld, was isolated with only one teammate at his service but nobody in our lead group of 20 took advantage of the situation and his team came back and helped him get to the line safely and remain in the race lead.

The heat was intense again today and everybody in the peloton was covered in salt over the last half of the race. For us, keeping cool has been the biggest challenge as we never really adapted to the heat.

This race provided a great base for the coming months of racing in Europe. The team has a very full calendar and the racing we’re getting in now will benefit us later.





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Michael Barry Report

January 31, 2005 – Today we faced the first big test in the race: the ITT.
The 20km course was a pancake flat loop with a couple of sweeping corners
and finished along the South China Sea. The heat has been the biggest
challenge so far as the temperatures have been rising above 40 degrees.
It’s been tough to keep cool and the heat was draining in the last half of
the race.

Our Discovery team did well and one standout was Fumi Beppu, our new
Japanese recruit. He is a great teammate and has been active in the race
since we started in Langkawi – today he proved he is also a solid time
trialist. At the end of the day we had three riders in the top ten which
puts us in a good position going into the final week of the race. We will
simply try and conserve energy, not lose time, and then play our cards on
the Genting Highlands – the toughest day of the race with a 30 km mountain
top finish. Both the Columbians and South Africans seem to be the riders to watch for as overall they placed well in the time trial and also seem to be more than comforatable on the climbs.

We are all still getting settled into the rhythm of being back racing and
also trying to get acclimated to the weather, so there are still question
marks as to where we will end up at the end of the race. In the coming days we will be faced with more bunch sprints as the stages are pancake flat.

Results:
1. Nathan O’Neill (Aus) Navigators Insurance
24.42.76 (49.29 km/h)
2. Ryan Cox (RSA) Barloworld 0.04.82
3. Jose Rujano (Ven) Colombia Selle Italia 0.15.25
4. Tiaan Kannemeyer (RSA) Barloworld 0.20.94
5. Michael Barry (Can) Discovery Channel 0.24.19
6. Marlon Perez Arango (Col) Colombia Selle Italia 0.27.36
7. Bogdan Bondariew (Ukr) Action 0.36.54
8. David Plaza Romero (Spa) Barloworld 0.37.81
9. Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 0.41.97
10. Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Discovery Channel 0.43.50

Overall:

General classification after stage 4

1. Koji Fukushima (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor 11.18.32
2. Nathan O’Neill (Aus) Navigators Insurance 1.20
3. Ryan Cox (RSA) Barloworld 1.22
4. Jose Rujano (Ven) Colombia Selle Italia 1.36
5. Tiaan Kannemeyer (RSA) Barloworld 1.41
6. Michael Barry (Can) Discovery Channel 1.44
7. Marlon Perez Arango (Col) Colombia Selle Italia 1.48
8. Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 2.02
9. Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Discovery Channel 2.04
10. Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 2.14





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Michael Barry Report

January 28, 2005 – The first stage was straight forward- a flat lap around the island of Langkawi that was almost guaranteed to come down to a field sprint. The field here is competitive, perhaps one of the best in the race’s 10 year history, with cycling stars such as Joseba Beloki, Jorg Jackshe, Graeme Brown and so on.

We arrived a day before the start of the race and came directly from California where we had our training camp over the last few weeks. It seems that the heat is harder to acclimate to than the time change. We were racing in heat well over 30 degrees Celsius yesterday and were pounding several bottles even thought the stage was a short 100 km. The peloton is quite sketchy as it is their first race of the year for many riders- bike handling skills have been dulled through the winter months and everybody is nervous as the season is beginning and a good percentage want to win. Hopefully, as the race progresses the peloton will calm down and there will be fewer crashes. Panaria, Brown’s team, controlled the race with our team for much of the day and kept a 15 man breakaway in site to ensure the race would come to a field sprint. We didn’t have anybody in the group, a tactical error on our part, and were forced to chase the break with Panaria. The guys were not to psyched to have to chase a breakaway in the first 50 km of the first race of the year but at the end of the day it worked out for the best.

There is a new rule in cycling that within the last three kilometers, if there is a crash in the peloton, the pack will be given the same time as the leaders. Essentially, they have extended the 1km rule to 3km. There is still a little confusion as to who gets what time but at the end of the evening last night the commisaires decided to give everybody that was either involved in the crash or caught behind the same time as the winner of the stage. The rule is in place so that riders racing for the overall classification do not need to risk injury simply to ensure they don’t lose time.

Next up is a 172 km flat stage on the mainland of Malaysia. On a final note, Malaysia suffered very little damage from the Tsunami and the coastline seems very intact.





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Michael Barry Report

January 23, 2005 – Our team training camp has now finished up and we are getting ready to start the season. The last week of camp the intensity in the training increased as did the distance and time on the bike. It is impressive to see everybody’s body morph during the two week camp. The winter layer of fat progressively disappears and our climbing speeds increase.

The last days of camp we were literally racing up the mountains, attacking each other and sprinting for the peaks. The town signs also provided us with a finish line which we could sprint for. Max van Heeswijk dominated the sprints while George Hincapie and I were a equal at the tops of the mountains.

Each year the team training camp finishes up with a sponsor weekend. The team sponsors come in from around the country for a dinner and morning ride with the team. It is the one time in the year the whole team will be together during the season and the one time we will all get a chance to a enjoy a meal with our supporters. The sponsors are generally cycling enthusiasts as well and it is always interesting to ride along and chat with someone as accomplished as Tiger Williams from Williams Trading or Thom Weisel of Thomas Weisel Partners.

Last week I found out I will be racing in Malaysia at the Tour of Langkawi which starts in less than a week. It was a bit of a shock as I now only have one and a half days at home in Colorado before leaving for Langkawi. From Malaysia I will travel directly to Spain where I will be based with Dede for the entire season. In the next day I will be inundated with packing and organizing my life before heading to the races. My fitness is good at the moment and I think Malaysia will be the perfect race to get the season going as the stages are not too long or hard and we are guaranteed not to race in the foul weather. The team is one of the best groups of guys with which I have ever raced. The ambiance within the group is fantastic. The team is diverse and multi cultural which always adds and interesting element.

During a ride last week George Hincapie asked Fumi Beppu, a young Japanese rider with the team, to attack with him as we neared the end of the ride. Fumi attacked like to was the World Championships and they quickly gained minutes on the group. At the hotel he thanked George repeatedly and said he had made a dream of his come true. George laughed and told him he could barely hold his wheel as they were racing away from the group.

For more about Barry, visit www.michaelbarry.ca





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Michael Barry Report

January 15, 2005 – In the last week we have had several solid days of training here in California. The weather has been great so far as the storms and rain that hit the coast the last weeks have passed. Some of the roads are washed out but nothing is bad enough to stop us from riding. Solvang has some incredible terrain for cycling and in the last couple of days we have been taking advantage of the mountains.

Today we rode our bikes for nearly six hours and did two climbs of about one hour each. The team has been splitting up into two groups, one faster that is getting ready for the classics and one slower that is preparing for the races later in the year. I am in the faster group with fellow Canuck Ryder Hesjedal. The second climb of the day we rode up at a very hard tempo, near race pace and much harder than we have ridden all off season, and at the top there were only a few guys left. At the camps there is always some fun competition within the team.

At the start of the ride today Paolo Savodelli crashed after flatting his front wheel and came down straight on his collarbone breaking it in three places. It was a shocking moment for all of us as it happened so quickly. In the next week we’ll be logging lots of kilometers with many six hour rides in the mountains around Santa Barbara and Solvang.

The ambiance at the camp is good and all the new guys seem to be fitting in well.

Until next time,

Michael





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