Aur?lien Clerc Interview
Aur?lien Clerc, the almost 26-year-old guy from Waadtland, Switzerland, came up with a surprising third-place finish in the ninth stage of the 2005 Giro d'Italia. We talked to the young Phonak rider about his first big Tour and his ambition to win a Giro stage at least once in his career.
Aur?lien Clerc, congratulations on taking third place. Were you expecting such nice results going into the Giro?
?Yes, I wanted to come out with the best result possible. Winning third place during a stage in my first big tour is good. But I hope that I can do even better.?
It was almost enough for a win. Are you upset that you were pinned in during the sprint?
?I was lacking behind during the last 1,000 m but was able to catch up again. During the sprint I was locked in by Bettini. But I was able to pull out to the left. My legs were a little tired, but so were Petacchi's [the stage winner]. After a stage it's easy to say that I could've won it. I'm not upset. On the contrary, I'm happy that I was still able to finish in third place.?
In your professional career you've been able to take six victories so far, but never before had you finished at the front in a stage of such a big tour. Do you consider this third-place finish your greatest success so far in your career?
?No, success is when you win. But, sure, it's a good result. It boosts my morale and self-confidence. My legs are good and if everything goes as planned, then the day after tomorrow there'll be another sprint finish. And then I hope to do even better.?
First comes a day off. Are you happy about that?
?Yes, I'm happy about that. Last year I rode nine days during the Tour de Suisse and in the end was very tired. This Giro is now ten days old and I'm happy to be able to rest for a day because now comes the difficult part with the mountains.?
What is your goal going into the next stages?
?As I said, I hope to have a good result on Wednesday. I want to make it to Milan, although it's going to be very hard for me in the mountains. I'm hoping for a stage win in future. Maybe already next year, once I've gathered more experience.?