Thomas Dekker doesn't feel really comfortable during his beach holiday on Curacou this year. Although the
22 years old talented rider surprised everybody with his overall victory of Tirreno-Adriatico, he is not staisfied with how
the rest of his season went.
Thomas Dekker told Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf: "Because of the circumstances i couldn't perform
on my level after spring. That keeps nagging me." Michael Boogerd is listening with a smile and says: "It's that attitude
what displays the mentality of a real top athlete."
34 Years old Michael Boogerd and Thomas Dekker are of a different generation but the two Rabobank
riders are always together. "Because of the way he behaves I don't notice that thomas is so much younger," Boogerd said. "In
all these years I never saw another rider who knows the sport as well as I do."
And passion often comes with mentality. Training animal Boogerd saw immediatly that the 'junior' Dekker
is also a tough guy. "Other riders are affraid to ride with me. They know that a training sometimes is harder than a
race. They live in Limburg (the hilly Dutch region were the Amstel Gold Race takes place, Cyclingheroes), but avoid the hills
and prefer to ride with a big group. The first years I use to ride with them every now and than, but I never
was really statisfied. Thomas is also somebody who is always testing his limits."
Last winter Thomas Dekker moved to Tuscany (Italy) to develope under the wings of trainer Luigi Cecchini.
Thomas said: "I can't perform well in a race with mountains if i didn't see a mountain during my preparation. Ofcourse it
was a difficult step to go to Italy all alone but cycling means everything to me and I understand that I have to invest."
Boogerd: "Before my first Tour I went with my father to France by car to watch the Alpe stages.
It was very amateurish but at least I knew whatI had to expect."
Dekker: "In my fourth year on junior high school I
got on the train with a little back pack to train in the Limburg hills."
Boogerd: "Thomas is an exception. Ofcourse he has the talent, but he also has the will to work to adchieve his
goals. Maybe a lot of people think he has a big mouth but the things he say are supported with a lot of self confidence.
Other young guys also shout something every now and than, but nobody cares. Everything stand or fall with the results."
Of all people Boogerd was the only one of the Rabobank squad who took a look at dekker in Lucca. "We
experience the sport in the same way," Dekker said. "I have an enormous respect for Michael. he always wants to win the race at
the classic moments. He is certainly not the man who exploit breaks. I think that it is also my way to race."
"Because of that attitude I won less races, but I love it to make a classic more tough. Especially with young guys like Thomas
I received appreciation for my achievements. That kind of respect have made me stronger, because of that I have my second
Still it seems that 2007 will be the last season for Boogerd: "There is a real chance that i will retire
but i did not take a definite decision yet. After Erik Dekker retired there will be even more eyes following me. Although
I do think that Thomas can get results in the 2007 classics. He won Tirreno in a great way. That tells enough. He
has so much talent that he can that he can leapfrog over many steps."
Dekker: "After my virus infection I was in a
deep dark hole. In the Tour of Sachsen
I rode a stage of 250 kilometers with 40 degrees celsius. I got dropped all the time and i thought all the
time that my season was over.I have fighted my way through and one and a halve month later I felt stronger in the
Tour of Poland as in Tirreno. Until a dog crossed the street and I broke my metacarpal bone. Again a blow. I am
glad I had the good feeling back in my legs again for a while, so I can go into the winter with a good