Robbie Hunter reflects on missing the Tour de France
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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Robbie Hunter reflects on missing the Tour de France

by Xylon van Eyck at 6:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
 
RadioShack rider to shift focus to the Vuelta

Robbie HunterRobbie Hunter missed out on an opportunity to start his ninth Tour de France when he was not selected for the race by his team, RadioShack. The South African was signed to the team in late December last year after he was meant to ride for Pegasus in 2011, but they failed to get a UCI license due to financial troubles.

“Obviously after Pegasus we were left in a tight spot but I managed to get a contract with RadioShack for the year,” he told VeloNation. “It’s always great to be able to stay in the top tier of the sport and that's where I'd like to stay for another 4 years or so.”

Team RadioShack announced last week that they’d be going to the Tour de France with four leaders, and the hope of finishing on the podium. Hunter who has won a stage in the race before is more known as a sprinter for the flatter stages of the race.

“With the team going for GC and team classification it’s always hard for a guy like me who concentrates on the sprints. I know I can climb but I’m no means one of the best. So when you look at the way the team has been structured I guess I can understand, but in the same sense I know I could have done a good job for the team on the work side of things in the flat stages.”

The American team, run by Johan Bruyneel, announced their contract extension with sponsor RadioShack this week. This secures the team’s future through 2013, thus allowing the leaders to focus on the race. Janez Brajkovic, Chris Horner, Andreas Klöden and Levi Leipheimer will be the team’s protected men for the three-week race.

“I guess a non selection for the Tour De France is always a bit hard to swallow especially if you know you have great condition,” Hunter added. “But in the end you have to try to understand the team’s objectives and reasons they have decided to leave you as a reserve.”

Hunter’s deal with RadioShack ends at the end of this season and he’s yet to confirm if he’ll stay with the team or move on. He’s now back to training and focused on the second half of the year.

“For the rest of the season I'm concentrating on the Eneco Tour, Vuelta and World championships. I know with the right condition I can still get some great results and win races this season.”

He’ll have a chance to prove that on Sunday when he starts the 63rd Tour of Austria.

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