As a little boy, Toronto cyclist Michael Barry rode around Mt. Pleasant Cemetery with his Dad, pretending he was in the Tour de France. You can see the photographic evidence above.
Well, he doesn't have to pretend anymore.
After being on the wrong side of so many close decisions and some bad luck, the 34-year-old Barry finally got the nod for cycling's most prestigious race when he was one of nine riders announced Thursday by Team Sky.
“I went riding this morning before I found out and I was thinking about the possibility of doing it,” said Barry from his home in Girona, Spain. “I got quite emotional thinking about all the years of racing. It's kind of hard to explain and not sound too cheesy.
“I grew up riding in the city with my Dad around Mt. Pleasant Cemetery. Riding the Tour de France is what I was imagining I was doing back then. I was like 4 or 5 or 6 years old. It's really nice to have the opportunity to do it.”
Team Sky management selected Barry over New Zealand sprinter Greg Henderson, a winner of four stage races this year, because they value what he brings as a domestique. He can use his experience to position himself in the peloton to protect the leaders, as well as help with tactical advice. He had a strong showing this year in the Giro d'Italia, almost winning a stage.
“Throughout my career, I've been a domestique, a worker, someone who doesn't necessarily score the goals but sets the plays up and gets the assists,” said Barry. “It's something I enjoy doing, it's something I've become quite good at.”
He'll be doing it to help out Team Sky's ace Bradley Wiggins, who finished fourth in the Tour de France last year.
“We're going there to win," said Barry. "The whole team is there to support him.”
Below is a recent training ride of Barry and teammates Wiggins and Steve Cummings from one of the late criticial stages of the Tour de France. It's pretty wild -- and may induce motion sickness. It's from michaelbarry.ca