Greg Henderson set to make fairytale Tour de France debut at 35 years old
  December 10, 2023 Login  

Current Articles    |   Archives    |   RSS Feeds    |   Search

Friday, June 22, 2012

Greg Henderson set to make fairytale Tour de France debut at 35 years old

by Xylon van Eyck at 11:03 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
New Zealander says no egos on the team, sprint train fully committed to Greipel

Greg HendersonWhile George Hincapie (BMC Racing Team) will start his seventeenth Tour de France and Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) will start his fifteenth, Greg Henderson (Lotto-Belisol) is a complete contrast, making his debut at 35 year of age. The New Zealander tells VeloNation he feels that he deserved a Tour spot on the previous teams but, now that he’s finally got the nod, that he’ll really cherish his participation in cycling’s biggest prize.

“At the moment I feel like I’m heading away to another bike race but I know as it gets closer the intensity will be huge,” he said. “This is it, you know. This is 'the' race. I’ll bury myself so deep for three weeks to do my best. I’m prepared to suffer so much some days just to get through. Hours of suffering but I’m fully mentally prepared for this. I don't care how much it hurts.”

Henderson had a late start to his career and only got to Europe in 2007 when he signed with T-Mobile. Before that he spent five years on the continental circuit in America. As a result he had less experience than many of the same age.

“I’m pretty much a rookie at this game. I came late to Europe so don't feel old, especially in the mind,” he said laughing. “I had a few years of missing the Tour that hurt me a lot but I’m looking forward and the best thing to do is let the legs show what I want to say with my mouth.”

Lotto-Belisol’s top man for the sprints is Andre Greipel. The German has twelve wins to his name this season, thanks in part to the strong leadout train built around him this year.

Henderson is one of the most important riders in that train, and states that things have becoming instinctive when setting the sprint up. That near-telepathy is vital in the chaos of Tour finishes, and can literally make the difference between winning and losing.

“We are at a point in the leadout now where we hardly have to speak,” he explained. “We all know our jobs and we are all committed for the one result. There are no egos like I had to deal with in the past. The sprinter is the sprinter, no question. No sprinting for yourself and seeing if your teammate can come past. If he does then he might win. For me to deliver Andre to a win, I honestly feel as good as if I have won. It’s such a great feeling when the whole team delivers and we win.”

Greipel is having one of his best ever years and, like Henderson, had to wait several years to get into the Tour. He made his debut last year and beat Mark Cavendish to win stage ten; this time round, he’ll hope for more than just one win. In fact, there’s another target that might materialise during the race.

Many have earmarked Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and defending champion Cavendish (Sky) as the favourites for the green points jersey. Henderson says he has every bit of confidence in Greipel’s ability to go for green, although that’s not a priority to start with.

“First things first, we want to win a stage,” he said. “I think with consistent stage finishes on sprint days then maybe we can then go close to having a crack at the green.”


Subscribe via RSS or daily email

  Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy  Copyright 2008-2013 by VeloNation LLC