At this year’s Tour de France we’re going bigger and better than ever, with a whole new ‘ride’ trip category for the avid cyclists out there daring to be challenged and up for conquering some cols!
Although he’s been retired since 2008, he’s fit, fast and primed for some serious ride time!
Gates’ successful professional career began back in 1996 where he certainly kicked things off with a bang, winning the Commonwealth Bank Classic and storming into the Green & Gold national championships jersey with an impressive victory in the road race.
Gates went on to spend many seasons with various German outfits, and played a crucial lead-out role to one of the world’s then fastest men, Robbie McEwen. His selfless, consistent efforts to support his team mates ensured a valued reputation within pro cycling and his ticket to several Tour de France’s among numerous other Grand Tours throughout his career. In 2003 he joined the Silence Lotto team and turned his focus to playing a key support role to another Aussie great, Cadel Evans.
He ended his 12 year long career on an all-time high with a victory in his own hometown race in Townsville, with the support of long-time team mate and friend, McEwen.
Since retiring, he has remained avidly immersed in the sport which has only emphasised our excitement to have him on board with us this season. Bring on the Alps!
NICK GATES Q & A
- Career highlight/s?
A career highlight was being Australian road champion and wearing the champ jersey for a season in Europe. Winning the Commonwealth Bank classic was also a big highlight. Also being involved in the World Road Championships in which Australia won silver!
- Favourite Tour de France moment?
Rolling down the start ramp in the centenary TDF under the Eiffel Tower was a very special moment.
- As a pro what were your biggest strengths?
My strength was being a team player prepared to sacrifice my chances for the team.
- And Weaknesses/Fears?
Many, but we don’t like to admit those!
- Favourite Alps Tour de France climb?
Alpe d'Huez always had a mythical feeling.
- What are you most looking forward to in leading our TdF Alps experience this July?
I'm excited to take guests over these iconic climbs and to be able to give them a little insight from a riders point of view.
- You're famously known as Aussie sprint sensation Robbie McEwen's key and loyal leadout man. How did you cope with the pressure of leading out a world class sprinter?
Whether you ride on the front for hours to bring back a breakaway so it becomes a bunch sprint, or whether you are in the train, you have to be on a very good level, because people are depending on you.
- Your love for cycling remains, right?! What do you enjoy most about it now you’re on the ‘other side of the fence'?
I think my love for cycling will always be there. I don’t train like I used to but certainly still enjoy riding my bike. It's great to be able to roll out for a ride without a routine, or training session and just enjoy it.
- What would be your best ‘training’ advice to someone preparing for the Alps?
Anyone who is coming on the Alps tour I would suggest you try and ride as many climbs as you can in the lead up to the tour so you're not struggling each day and can really enjoy the moment. It'll be worth it!