Roger Hammond and Mark Cavendish paid a flying visit to London yesterday to check out parts of the Tour de France prologue route. The pair stopped in the capital for a T-Mobile press conference before heading out to Philadelphia for a week?s racing.
The pair came to the capital along with team mates Michael Rogers and Linus Gerdemann, although the visit is no indication of their chances of making the Tour team.
T-Mobile will announce their nine-man team when they have decided on their approach to the race. If they come to London for the Grand Depart with overall ambitions, Hammond is unlikely to be with them. But if the team go to the race focused on stage wins, he has an excellent chance of being selected.
Mark Cavendish was never supposed to be in the Tour team, but five wins this year, including two ProTour wins at the Tour of Catalonia, have lead many to believe he?s already capable of performing in sprints in a major Tour. If he doesn?t make it to the start in London, he is likely to start the Tour of Spain later in the year.
?I?m keen to ride but I?m aware that?s in only in England for two days,? Hammond said. ?I?d only want to go if I thought I could go there and do something, which I think I can. I?ve never wanted to do a grand tour before, so just the fact that I?d like to ride is different.?
The quartet didn?t get the chance to check out the whole of the prologue course due to traffic, ?It?s hard to tell when you?re being run off the road by a Range Rover, black cab and bus all at the same time,? Hammond said.
Cavendish though, is one step ahead, having already gained intimate knowledge of the route, ?I know the course from playing The Getaway on the Playstation,? he said.
Despite Rolf Aldag's (T-Mobile?s Sports Manager) confession last week of using blood boosting drug EPO during his career, Hammond believes that team morale is, if anything, better than before. ?The team has joined together,? he said. ?Before, we had something to fight for, and this has just reminded us of that.
?It?s obviously not good news, but we can take a positive from it. Rolf was in a miserable situation ten years ago, and who better to have as a manager as someone who knows not to put that kind of pressure on a team.
?I can only judge Rolf on how he?s been with me since I?ve been in this team and not on something that happened ten years ago. He?s been fantastic,? said Hammond.
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Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. He fell in love with cycling when channel surfing in 1989 and happening across the greatest ever edition of the Tour de France. He's been a Greg LeMond fan ever since. He started racing in 1995 when moving to university in North Wales gave him more time to train and some amazing roads to train on. He raced domestically for several years, riding everything from Surrey leagues to time trials, track and even a few Premier Calendars. In 2000 he spent one season racing in Belgium with the Kingsnorth International Wheelers.
Since working for Cycling Weekly he has written product reviews, fitness features, pro interviews, race coverage and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. He can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer but he still hasn't completed the CW5000 challenge!
SIMON IS CURRENTLY RIDING
Road bike: Pinarello K8S with Shimano Dura Ace
TT bike: Specialized Venge road bike with FFWD wheels and Easton Attack TT bars
Gravel bike: N/A
Training bike: Rourke custom hand made with Reynolds 853 steel
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