Cooke is focusing on Classics
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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Cooke is focusing on Classics

by Bjorn Haake at 5:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Baden Cooke, who will be riding with the Saxo Bank team in 2010, is focusing on the Spring Classics. He is using a different build-up to the season than in years past and hopes that in combination with the professional Saxo Bank setup, this will earn him a big win this season.

"My first and main objective is the Classics," Cooke told ozcycling. "This is probably the least training I have done ahead of the Jayco Bay Classics ever." Cooke pointed out that his training was more about quality than quantity, which came in handy for the short races in Geelong. "Here, it is one hour at warp speed," he said.

Because of the changed training, his form is solid but not great right now. His next race will be the Australian National Championships. "I am not certain my form is good enough there. It is a four- to five-hour race. I am certainly trying to win nationals, but if I don't, I don't."

Cooke is just happy that while his form isn't great, he is going solid. "I feel happy, heathy and on top of things." His big preparation for the Classics will start with the Tour Down Under. "I am actually more focused on it, since there are a lot of ProTour points there. It is a very important race on the world calendar." It is a race he thinks he can win, "So I'll be there," he promised.

He won't dismiss the last four days of intense racing, though. "Today was a great springboard to go forward to the Classics. If I can pop one of those off, I'll be a very happy man!"

He is doing his training part and his new team ensures the rest is done right as well. The team had a two-week training camp in the Canary Islands in the beginning of December. "They have specialists in every area." While Cooke already knew a lot about nutrition, he was intrigued by the team's informational campaign. "I learned a lot more about nutrition. It just encouraged me to implement some of the things I already knew and some of the things I learned there."

He took home what to eat, when to eat and not to mix certain foods. "I know that it is important to look after yourself as it pays dividends - and I am feeling that already."

Cooke has finally arrived back at a top team. He won the points classification in the Tour de France in 2003 for Française des Jeux. His move to Unibet started well and he won his first race for them, the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise in 2006. But Unibet was caught up in a rift between race organizers and the UCI about the ProTour. The team was prevented from racing many races that the ProTour status should have automatically allowed them in.

After two years he went to Barloworld, but things didn't go right for him. In 2009 he rode for Vacansoleil and while he didn't have any wins, he collected quite a few top ten placings, which didn't go unnoticed by Saxo Bank.

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