Marcus Burghardt one of the most valuable domestiques in Tour de France win for Cadel Evans
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Marcus Burghardt one of the most valuable domestiques in Tour de France win for Cadel Evans

by Bjorn Haake at 4:05 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
German gets lion from Australian BMC teammate as a reward

marcus burghardtCadel Evans won the Tour de France, but kept thanking his team and pointing out that he couldn't have achieved victory without them. Marcus Burghardt was one of the riders who helped the Australian get the first Tour win for his country. Burghardt, a classics specialist, was extremely important in the first week, on narrow roads with wet surface. He helped Evans stay clear of all trouble and set the foundation for the successful overall win.

Burghardt himself pointed out the importance of the team and when Radsport News asked him about how much of the yellow jersey belonged to him, he described the efforts of everyone on BMC's staff. "Of course the jersey belongs to Cadel. We from the team tried to support him as good as possible. Not only riders, but also the mechanics, the soigneurs, or the cook." A successful racer has a strong head, a powerful body - and a good recovery. "If the soigneur cannot get the hardness out of your muscles in the evening's massage, then it has consequences the next day."

The preparation and planning was well done at BMC and Burghardt thinks that skipping the Giro d'Italia was the right decision. "There were 12 or 13 riders on the short list and none of them were scheduled to ride the Giro. It was really hard and draining this year. It is not only a physical aspect, but you also aren't a 100 percent in your head, I think."

Burghardt credits the general good atmosphere on the team for the success. "After dinner we still sat around and had fun together." Despite some having the ability to go for stage victories, the team members had just one goal in mind. "Everybody rode for Cadel. We didn't even think about going into a group, as we concentrated to protect Cadel." With Evans having finished second twice before, the chances were good he could deliver this time. "At this Tour everything was perfect, everybody was on the same page and everybody believed on the big goal Tour win."

But there were also moments of doubts. "I did believe that he could win in the Alps, when I realized he could stay with the strongest. But I saw the jersey vanish in the Alpe d'Huez stage, when Contador and Andy Schleck attacked on the Télégraphe and Cadel couldn't follow." The German had a good view on the duel. "I was around a 100 meters behind and I only saw that he sprinted after them in vain." The mystery was quickly solved. "It became clear that it wasn't a lack of strength but a mechanical."

Burghardt was a crucial help for Evans in the first week, when the racing was nervous, the weather was bad and the roads were narrow and dangerous. "All in all, this worked very well, like on the stage to Gap, where I guided Cadel through the city in the rain. These conditions and situations suit me really well."

Evans knows how important the German is, although Burghardt drew a line on how close the two are. "Well, we don't go on holiday together," he said with a smile. Unlike a one-day race, where riders have very little time to get used to each other, the Tour offered three weeks of fine tuning. "One knows how to ride when for the captain."

Burghardt enjoys the presence of Evans. "He is a normal and likable person, without being stuck up and I think he also comes across very well in the public. For example he gave me his small yellow lion for my little daughter, which I found very touching." The mellow personality of Evans comes across in the races as well. "He is not a dominant captain and doesn't get angry when things don't pan out like planned." Directeur sportif John Leleangue was giving out the tactics, with Evans pitching in. "But he is not the guy for long speeches before the races." There is a side of Evans that is very particular. "He is very meticulous with the material and checks carefully that everything is alright."

Burghardt is honest about his Tour de France stage 18 win in 2008, when he beat Carlos Barredo in a two-up sprint. "For me personally this stage victory means more than the Tour victory of Cadel," he said. "Standing on the podium is something really special - but Cadel's yellow jersey is not far behind. To be the first team to roll onto the Champs-Élysées, then the ceremony. I don't know if I will ever experience this again."

With the domestique duties fulfilled, Burghardt is going back to his own goals. "I am riding the Vuelta, where I would like to win a stage. And in the fall the World Championships are a big goal."


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