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Season roundup - Greg Henderson
Nov 16th, 09. Grand Tour stage winner kiwi Greg Henderson sums up his successful 2009 season, sharing his best result, best ride and best experience.
Success in cycling can't always be measured by checking the result sheets. Many cyclists, like Greg Henderson, have a role in a team which means their chances for personal victory are significantly diminished.
When given an opportunity though, everyone wants to have a win. Like many of our kiwi internationals, Greg Henderson did manage his share of podium successes this season.
However, he was one of only two kiwis to have a podium in a Grand Tour, and the only kiwi in 29 years to be at the top of that podium.
Ten weeks on, having enjoyed a break off the bike, Henderson has started his pre-season training in Melbourne, Australia, his off-season home.
He took some time out from riding and new father duties to share his season round-up with RoadCycling.co.nz.
Best ride/result of the season?
My best result for the 09 season has to be my victory during Stage 3 of the Vuelta.
400m before the finish line I realised that Andre Griepel (Columbia’s sprinter for the Vuelta) was not on my wheel and it was then I made my move and lined myself up for the win.
Oscar Freier had positioned himself behind me however I was able to hold him off for the win.
While my Vuelta win was my best result of the year, my best ride of the season was during a tour called '3 days of De Panne' in Belgium [in late March].
During stage 1, I made selection, an expression used to describe the first group. Tom Boonen attempted to come across to the move but wasn’t successful.
Once I had a moment to compose myself it then occurred to me the group of riders in the break were some of the best classic cyclists in the peloton.
Ironically, this tour also turned out to be my biggest disappointment for the season. I finished 5th on General Classification, only seconds off the podium. These seconds were taken from me during a mechanical in the final time trial.
During the tour my role was to lead Mark Cavendish out for the sprint finishes, I helped him in his conquest to notch up 3 victories. So when it became apparent that I had a chance for a podium result I felt particulary proud of my performance.
That's why the disappointment of having two flat tyres during the last stage time trial really hit home hard. It took me a long time to move on from my disappointment, my wife Katie thankfully was there to screw my head back on!
My luckiest ride was Scheldeprijs....the peloton crashed at 200m to go...I closed my eyes, said a prayer, grabbed a handful of brakes and scuffed up against the rails to a stand still. All of a sudden we went from 70kph to full on crash across the road. I managed to stay upright.
Best experience (on or off the bike)?
August the 4th no question, 2am, the birth of our little baby girl, Charlie
Were you happy with your 2009 International season?
On reflection I am pleased with my season. Riding with Columbia I was employed to lead out either Mark or Andre in the bunch sprints.
During the year I was given a handful of opportunites to sprint for myself. On each occasion I was successful in my endeavors and managed to achieve five victories.
However, winning isn’t necessarily everything. During the course of the year I feel I have stepped up a level in my own abilities.
Other feats include finishing my first grand tour, making the break during the Paris Roubaix etc, are all results that I am proud of.
My results based on last season have set me up now to sign a two year contract with one of the most exciting new teams in the peloton, Team Sky.
When are you back in NZ?
My family and I are based in Melbourne during the off season, however I will always consider Dunedin as my home. We plan on visiting family during January.
"I look forward to one day racing a pro tour race in New Zealand”Are you planning on riding any NZ events; Tour of Southland, Taupo Classic, Festival of Cycling, Elite Nationals...?
I have not yet confirmed my start, but more then likely I will ride Nationals.
I tried to ride tour of Southland but due to UCI restrictions I was not able to. I also looked at competing in the Festival of Cycling but again travel became too much of an issue.
My season starts and stops with the races my team roster me on for, these mainly occur in Europe. I look forward to one day racing a pro tour race in New Zealand. Hopefully this happens while I am still racing professionally.
You told RoadCycling.co.nz earlier in the season a Classic win beats a Stage win - do you still agree or does Vuelta break that rule?
Classics are nice because you have to survive hard terrain all day and then everyone who lines up in a one day classic is trying to win.
That’s why Clasica Almeria is a special win for me. However…not too many people are winning Grand Tour Stages.
For me now training has resumed. I'm motivated and healthy and having fun training with a great group of pros here in Melbourne. Gerro, Jez Hunt, Cookie, Matty Wilson, Mitch Docker, Hilts, and a few of my mates that are mental Ironmen..Luke Bell and Sam Hume.
Read the season round-ups of all the kiwi internationals..
Greg Henderson, Peter Latham, Alex Meenhorst, Tim Gudsell, OEX Team Enterprise, Matt Sillars, Roman Van Uden, Alex McGregor, Heath Blackgrove, Wade Mangham, Glen Chadwick, Genevieve Whitson, George Bennett, Logan Hutchings, Michael Torckler, Josie Giddens, Jesse Sergent, Tom David, Jack Bauer, Sam Bewley, Rushlee Buchanan, Clinton Avery, Ryan Wills, Cath Cheatley plus recent interviews with Alison Shanks, Hayden Roulston and Jo Kiesanowski. More to come...
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