Simon Gerrans on Le Tour de France
While it might be his first with BMC Racing Team, Simon Gerrans is actually lining up for his 12th Tour de France this year. So, ahead of Saturday's Grand Depart, we caught up with the Australian rider to chat all things Le Tour...
Simon, you’re heading into your 12th Tour de France this year. Do you still get the same feelings of excitement or anticipation now as you did at your debut race?
“It’s obviously still very exciting. I don’t think it matters what Tour de France you’re lining up at. It’s the highlight and the pinnacle of the season. It’s a race that everyone looks forward to and there is so much emphasis around it. So, it’s hard not to get excited by the Tour."
What do you think makes the Tour de France so special?
“I think from a rider’s perspective, what makes the Tour de France so special is that it is an event that everyone in the peloton is targeting. You’re racing against a field in which everyone is in top condition. So, the level of racing at the Tour de France is just superior to wherever else you go throughout the year.”
“And, I guess that level of competition and that fierce competitiveness is why everyone gets so excited about it whether that’s the personnel, the sponsors or the public. I think that’s what sets the Tour apart.”
You spent two days in yellow at the 2013 Tour de France. Can you describe how it feels to wear, and race in, the yellow jersey?
“It’s interesting actually. When you’re racing and you actually have the yellow jersey on your shoulders you probably don’t realize how big a deal it is until that moment has passed. You become known around the world overnight when you put that jersey on and I think it was only once the Tour de France was done in 2013 that for me, it actually sunk in.”
If you could re-live one stage of any Tour de France that you have raced, which one would it be?
“Going back to the 2013 Tour de France, when I wore the yellow jersey, it was a pretty special feeling as I was in the team that won the team time trial and so to get a stage win with my teammates at that time and cap it off with being awarded the yellow jersey at the end of the day was pretty special.”
2018 will be your first Tour de France with BMC Racing Team, what are you most looking forward to about this year's race?
“I am really looking forward to the challenge of this year’s race. I am lining up with a fantastic team and with a genuine contender in Richie. It’s been many years since I raced the Tour de France with a GC favorite so I am really looking forward to the challenge of that this year.”
Looking at this year's route, is there one stage in particular that stands out to you?
“I think the short, 65km stage in the Pyrenees is one that stands out to me the most. I can’t say I am looking forward to that. I think that is going to be full gas from go to woe. Whether you’re up the front racing for the win or racing to make the time limit, that is going to be one tough stage.”
On a Tour de France rest day, what is the most important thing for you to do to help you recover and prepare for the next part of the race?
“Funnily enough, the best thing to do on a rest day is to keep the body moving, keep working and do a good training ride. So, as much as it’s nice not to have such a rigorous schedule and to have a little bit more of a relaxed day and a longer lunch, the most important thing is not to stop completely.”
The Quick-Fire Round
The Alps or the Pyrenees?
“I always prefer whatever comes first as I am always fresher.”
A Team Time Trial or an Individual Time Trial?
“Team Time Trial.”
Can you describe the Tour de France in just three words?
“Intense, spectacular and rewarding.”