Pereiro says he’s under less pressure and motivated once more
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Pereiro says he’s under less pressure and motivated once more

by VeloNation Press at 8:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Astana rider Oscar Pereiro has spoken about a new enthusiasm for professional cycling, saying that his move to the team of Alberto Contador has helped him to become motivated once again.

"Last year I was very overwhelmed, I did not appreciate anything, I had no feelings of being a rider. I only saw the negative side of the bike,” he told Marca. "The result: four months of inactivity, from August to December.”

However he said that he is feeling much better since his move to Astana. “Each day I enjoy the atmosphere of the team.”

Pereiro was named as the winner of the 2006 Tour de France after Floyd Landis tested positive for testosterone and was disqualified. While that brought him more into the limelight and increased his value, it also put pressure on his shoulders that he was not comfortable with. He refers to that as a time when “the stakes were so high and so hard,” and is clearly more comfortable when the expectations are lower.

"I do not mean that things were wrong at Caisse d'Epargne,” he clarified. “I spent four great years there. But now I'm training like never before. I’m enjoying it, recording the training details, riding at home, and discovering new areas. My way of working reminds me of when I started as a professional.”

He has spent recent months training near his home in Vigo, and also heading to Alicante or the Algarve for variation. That’s helped to keep him motivated, and so too the lower expectations people now have of him. “Maybe the best thing is that I took off the mask of leadership; people were always expecting something. Now I’m nobody, I surprise people in a positive way. I start from zero. The bar is so low now that everybody tells me “how fine you are, you look so centered.”

In other words, he’s more comfortable being known as the rider who was on the verge of retirement rather than a past winner of the Tour de France.

With the pressure now gone, Pereiro is concentrating on getting into the best possible shape prior to helping Alberto Contador in the Tour de France. Promisingly, he took his highest placing of the season yesterday when he finished twelfth on stage four of the Volta a Catalunya. He’s now 22nd overall, one minute 44 seconds behind Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), and is riding better than he has for quite some time.

He’s also postponed talk of retirement, saying that he will continue if he feels good and wants to remain in the sport.

“The change is so great that now I will decide when I retire, not the bike. Now I know that this is time to enjoy it and to do well.”


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