Michael Barry has contract for 2012, eyes return to Olympics

Michael Barry is heading to China for the season-ending Tour of Beijing confident in the knowledge that he has a contract for next year.

2011 world road championships, Michael Barry
Michael Barry, shown here after his early exit from road worlds in Copenhagen. Photo: Andrew Hood

Michael Barry is heading to China for the season-ending Tour of Beijing confident in the knowledge  that he has a contract for next year.

The veteran Canadian confirmed to VeloNews that he has signed a contract for 2012, but said he could not yet name the team.

“I’m really enjoying racing right now. I enjoy doing what I do, being one of the veteran guys on a team,” Barry told VeloNews. “I’ve been having more fun than ever racing. We were training the other day in Girona and we were saying we cannot believe we get paid to do this.”

Barry will be receiving a paycheck for at least one more season, saying he received offers from several teams for 2012. He did not want to name his squad for next season until the details were finalized.

Barry, 36 in December, joined Team Sky in 2010 after three seasons with High Road and five with U.S. Postal Service.

“I’ve enjoyed being with Team Sky. It was exciting to be part of something new. It’s been satisfying to see it grow and now the team is winning races,” he said of Team Sky. “I will have a similar role next year. I enjoy working for the team. I race the best I can every time I get on the bike.”

Barry crashed out of the recent world championships when he was involved in the same late-race pile-up that saw defending world champ Thor Hushovd (Norway) lose options to defend his title.

“Guys were crashing in front of me and there’s nothing much you can do. I hit my knee and head and was on the ground for three-four minutes,” Barry said. “When the race is moving that fast, there’s no way of coming back.”

Barry said his personal highlights of the 2011 season were racing in front of the home crowds at the pair of Canadian races in September and helping Team Sky notch some big results in the second half of the season, especially while working for Edvald Boasson Hagen at the Eneco Tour and the Hamburg classic.

For 2012, in addition to playing his role as road captain and domestique, Barry is also hoping for a return to the Olympics, set for London next summer.

“I have the Olympics in the back of my mind. I would love to go,” said Barry, who was ninth in Beijing 2008. “The Olympics course is reasonably difficult. I usually do well on circuit courses that go over hills. I could be there if an escape goes away.”

Barry will wrap up his 2011 season with the Tour of Beijing, which starts Wednesday.