Tour down Under & Phil's Dream Team
Posted on: Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Australian picks his nine-man team
Dream teams must feature nine riders, one of which can be the rider selecting the team. In which case they pick eight riders to join them.
The riders picked must have all ridden with the person picking the team. That means you can’t just pick the eight or nine best riders of a generation.
My team is clearly generational, one that in a perfect world I would have had chosen to pursue my own cycling ambitions when back in the day I lined up to have a crack at the Tour de France.
The creation of a team around a non-European for the Tour de France was unheard in the early eighties and I had significant battles as a result. Le Tour was not the only race for a cyclist and my team could position me or the team to win any number of races on paper.
In cycling there is always the catastrophe or the chance that can change a race in a moment and this team has been created based on the style of racing back in my day, when the racing was gnarly, instinctive and not controlled by numbers. I have also created this team drawing on my instincts and based on the spirit of the rider. Doping reputations have not been considered.
Team Leader: Phil Anderson
I was a strong and demanding team leader who would never ask a team member to do what I couldn’t, and they all knew I would be there for them when they needed me
Huge VO2m, engine and endurance capacity
A good climber but perhaps my weakest link
A good time trialist - able to hold my own
A good sprinter, able to take a race to the line
Climber: Robert Miller
Having won the Polka-dot jersey at the Tour de France, Bob could follow anyone in the high mountains, in fact he finished 4th overall at LeTour in 1984. When the roads went skywards he raised it a notch and climbed, he could be relied on to be at the pointy end every time the race hurt in the hills. He could stay with the very best of the climbers, which ended up netting him not only great stage placings in the Tour, but also podiums at the Vuelta and Giro
Bob Millar was a savvy racer and we spent many years riding together from the time I first arrived in Europe as an amateur. We rode on the same club in Paris and shared success, leading to us both signing contracts to turn professional for the Peugeot team in 1980. At the start of my career he was one of the only other guys who spoke English, which didn’t help that much as he was pretty quiet!
Eric was a pure sprinter, a huge success and team leader in his own right. He could take the hits, day after day, crashes injury but he didn’t whinge and would be back up each day for more. None of this modern race for one stage and pull out for Erik. Pure class, pure toughness and funny. Knowing his limitations, he timed his efforts carefully and would fully sacrifice when he wasn’t a contender.
He was an animator in the bunch, ever a prankster with a sense of humour that was an important ingredient in a team in tough times. There were leadership battles between Erik when he was supposed to ride for me but I don’t begrudge Erik those wins, it was part of the life during this era.
Domestique: Sean Yates
A tough decision, Peiper or Yates, but I'll go for Yates. Sean is addicted to cycling. It is his passion (still is). You couldn’t wear this guy out. He would ride himself into the ground and stand up for a hammering day after day, week after week. Sean was a friend and a colleague, but, like Millar, he was quiet. However, he did come out with the occasional profound statement. Like Millar, we came through the same club in Paris (ACBB) but he was a student a year behind us and followed onto the Peugeot squad.
Coming from Britain, he was a monster in the race against the clock, doing well in prologues and time trials. Until the Armstrong era, he held the record for the average in a TdF time-trial well into the 50s. If there was a team time trial, Sean was the rider you wanted on your team since he could pull a huge turn of speed for kilometres. Alan Piper was the same, there we all were, not much English back then in the bunch and all the blokes I hung out with didn’t talk much. It could be pretty lonely.
Domestique: Patrick Jacobs
Jacobs was my shadow for the three years we rode together on TVM. Back in the day a domestique was a serious role and Jacobs was a master craftsman who studied me. For a time there in the late 80s, Patrick actually came to live with me to see me in my own environment. He knew what I ate, when, how much, when I fatigued and why.
When we raced he shadowed my every move. He was always beside on leading me and able to be relied upon to never contest. I never had to ask, I looked over my shoulder and Patrick was there, with drinks, to bring me back to the bunch and more. Not a famous big name but old school and one of the best.
Domestique: Guy Nulens
Guy was able to ride tempo at the head of the peloton all day. He never faltered and rode with me when I was on the Dutch Panasonic squad. He was quick to respond to the demands of the race and changing race plans. He always had a smile on his face and was the kind of unassuming but friendly guy that every team needs: there to do a job and be part of the team and got on well with the entire peloton.
Domestique: George Hincapie
George had a huge engine and when it was needed had a turn of speed that could string out the peloton and break the heart of the bunch when strategy demanded. He could ride on the front controlling a race for hours, carry out instructions on cue and back up, day after day. He was one of the guys on the team, a friend and we got on really well.
Domestique/Climber: Jesper Skibby
Jesper was a close friend during my career. When the racing was easy we were always at the back laughing and pranking, enjoying the life. Jesper was strong in the hills or in a TTT. When required, he was quickly to the front, head down and on the job without hesitation. He was a reasonable climber and was great support leading to the summits. You could always rely on him riding until he was totally spent.
Road Captain: Henk Lubberding
Henk was strong, a smart racer who was already seasoned when I entered the peloton. From an era when racing was strategy on the road and riders weren’t autobots who performed on cue according to the numbers. Henk could think on his feet, had a serious disposition and was a strong captain who could control the team. He worked extremely well with my director of choice, Peter Post which in turn worked well for me in an era when their were few non-euros on the circuit. Like he has been blessed with eternal youth, I caught up with him last year and he still looks like he is in his mid-twenties.
Team Manager: Peter Post
For most of my career I was on a French or Dutch Teams. The WorldTour or English speaking teams was unheard of. Non-Europeans were simply workhorses, or a mildly interesting story during the off season. I suffered as a consequence but have enormous pride that my achievements changed this perspective.
When I left Peugeot I knew I needed a director that my teammates would look up to, respect and take instructions from. Peter Post was eminently respected by the entire peloton and not just the riders on Panasonic. He was a hard taskmaster. We had our moments and for many not ideal but he suited me.