Dare 2b’s The Brotherhood: Oscar Pereiro – interview
2006 Tour de France winner on what it takes to win cycling's biggest race
Former Tour de France champion Oscar Pereiro insists a professional cyclist can get nowhere without a strong team behind him.
Pereiro won the 2006 Tour de France, after original winner Floyd Landis – who had taken the yellow jersey from the Spaniard on the penultimate stage – was disqualified for doping.
Pereiro, riding for the Caisse d’Epargne team (now Movistar), was propelled to the top of the general classification after being part of the day-long breakaway which triumphed by nearly half-an-hour over the peloton on stage 13.
But he says that without a loyal cast of support riders – which for Pereiro in 2006 included Alejandro Valverde and future Team Sky duo Nicolas Portal and Xabier Zandio – even the greatest champions would struggle.
“I think the team in cycling is the most important,” he explained. “Without a team in cycling, it is not possible to win.
“You can of course have a better or worse team, and the better your team is, the easier it is to win, but you are just the driver that holds the wheels of a car and the team is the engine.
“Anyone that thinks that a leader can win a race alone, well, this happens in about two per cent of races. In all others, you are simply the one that appears in the photograph and the rest of the team works in the darkness but is very important.”
Pereiro admits he still finds the achievements of his cycling career difficult to believe, even several years after leaving the pro peloton.
“I think even after so many years, you still do not believe what you were able to achieve in the past as a cyclist,” he said.
“The first time I wore the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, I was thinking of Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault, Stephen Roche, Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong… all the people I was watching on the TV before, who had been in the same moment I was.
“It is the dream for any cyclist just to compete on the Tour de France. You can’t just go to the Tour de France and win.
“You start very young, you first beat some colleagues, then you beat some opponents from other areas, then from other countries.
“You get then to important teams, then those teams work to be in the Tour and the most difficult thing is to be among the nine cyclists who will go to the Tour de France and then to try to be the best one in between 190 riders over 21 days…”
But Pereiro – already a consultant for Dare 2b, and now part of The Brotherhood, brought together in Spain to promote the firm’s latest cycling apparel range – is proud to be a part of the sport.
“Cycling is always going to be part of my life, and has been since I was 11 years old,” he concludes.
“First as a boy, with the wish of being professional, then I have been dedicated to cycling for many years.
“To be professional, and to win the Tour de France, you have to commit yourself to be in many places.
“Of course, it is part of my life and I hope and wish it will be so all my life. You can’t forget all you have done, and all that cycling contributes.”
Find Dare2b’s full range of cycling gear here or check out the Signature Tour jersey here.
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