Simon Gerrans Interview: Milan-Sanremo winner speaks post-victory
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Simon Gerrans Interview: Milan-Sanremo winner speaks post-victory

by Ed Hood at 7:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo
Biggest career triumph for Australian GreenEdge rider

Simon GerransIn between the post race media and ‘controle’ demands incumbent on a Monument winner, and the celebratory team ‘bash’ in Monaco, 2012 Primavera winner, Simon Gerrans found time to give a brief, exclusive interview to VeloNation about his afternoon’s work.

His sprint victory ahead of Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Nissan) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas Cannondale) came after several years’ of building form and results, and followed on from strong performances this year in races like the Santos Tour Down Under.

He’s shown a clear jump in level since signing for the GreenEdge team last autumn, and is now a bona fide contender for the Ardennes Classics, previously a big career goal.

Gerrans first showed his class when he won the Australian U23 road championship in 2002, as well as stage in the Tour of Tasmania.

He rode stagiaire as part of the Portuguese team Boavista at the end of 2003, the year he won the Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic.

He again rode stagiaire, this time for AG2R, in 2004 winning a stage in the Herald Sun Tour as well as second places overall in Paris-Correze and the Norwegian Ringerike plus a third on overall in the Ruban Granitier Breton.

This lead to a full contract with AG2R and in 2005 he announced his arrival in the pro ranks with wins in the Tour du Finistere in France, GP Industria in Italy and the Herald Sun Tour in his homeland.

The following season saw him successfully defend his Herald Sun Tour title and take the prestigious Tour Down Under to make it a pair of big home wins.

The high light of 2007 was a win the French GP Plumelec.

For season 2008 he left AG2R for Credit Agricole; and a hat trick of French stage victories in the Criterium International, Route du Sud and the Tour de France proved that it was a good move.

His palmares became even more solid the following 2009 season with stage wins in the Giro and Vuelta and victory in the French semi-classic GP Plouay for his new Cervélo team.

It was Team Sky for season 2010 but he crashed out of the Tour, breaking his arm, and had to build back up after that.

Fit and healthy for 2011 and still with Sky he took third place in the Amstel Gold and 12th in Liege-Bastogne-Liege to underline his Ardennes potential.

Late season he was 11th at San Sebastian, won the Tour of Denmark and finished second at Plouay.

Season 2012 could hardly have started in better fashion for the 31 year-old from Melbourne, with wins in the Australian elite road race championship and again taking the overall in the Tour Down Under.

And to add to his 2012 palmares, there’s his first Monument.

Gerrans covered a move by Vincenzo Nibali on the latter part of the climb of the Poggio with Fabian Cancellara immediately joining the pair.

The Swiss rider led a breakneck descent of the Poggio and headlong charge through the streets of Sanremo ahead of a rampaging peloton, which couldn’t quite make the junction.

Nibali was unable to work and Gerrans only came through twice – the second time being when he sprinted to take the win. Here’s what he had to say afterwards.

VeloNation: Congratulations, Simon – what was the GreenEdge game plan for today?

Simon Gerrans: Our main guy was Matt Goss; he was the defending champion and is in good shape.

My role was to cover any attacks which went on the Cipressa or Poggio. The team was confident that if I did get away than I could finish it off.

I went with Nibali when he attacked on the Poggio, then Cancellara came up and right away I could see it was a good move.

VN: Cancellara looked pretty wild on the descent of the Poggio…

SG: He’s an incredible descender; I was hanging on for dear life and could only manage to give him one spell.

Simon GerransI was a little bit worried about Nibali because he didn’t come through at all and I thought maybe he was going to make a move, but you could see at the finish that he just didn’t have it.

VN: How much of a part in the race pattern did Cavendish going off on La Manie play?

SG: When Cav was dropped there were a couple of the sprinters’ teams very keen to make sure he didn’t get back and they really drove it to keep the gap.

VN: The Cipressa didn’t seem quite as frantic as usual?

SG: That’s true, I think that was because it was still a big group and it would have been hard to make a real impression.

VN: The fighting for position going in to the Poggio looked intense…

SG: For sure, it’s a race all about positioning – you have to be in the right place going in to the Cipressa and Poggio and then over the top of both climbs.

It’s easy to get caught out of place, and if you are then that makes life very difficult.

VN: You’ve had a little ‘stick’ from the media about results but you’ve won the first national title of the year, the first World Tour race and now the first Monument . .

SG: Yeah, I know, I couldn’t have asked for much more, could I?

I have to say that’s it better than I could have hoped for.

VN: Going back to Matt Goss for a moment, is the plan to bring him to form a little later this year?

SG: For sure, today was the first event he was really targeting.

VN: What now for you?

SG: My next race is the Tour of the Basque Country as final preparation for the Ardennes Classics

I was third in the Amstel last year and I’ve placed eighth in the Fleche and sixth at Liege in the past, so those races are a major target.

VN: Is there a post race GreenEdge celebration in Sanremo, tonight?

SG: No, it’s in Monaco – and on that note, I’ll have to dash!


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