Thursday, June 30, 2011

Interview - Wout Poels

Wout Poels has impressed me massively this season so far. Saturday the young Vacansoleil climber starts his first Tour de France and I think it will be a good idea for all of you to keep a close eye on him when the peloton hits the mountains!

Wout, first of all, congratulation on a pretty impressive season so far! 3rd in Mediterraneen, 4th in Murcia, great stages in Tirreno and latest you finished off very strong in Tour de Suisse. What do you consider as your best result this year?
Thank you very much indeed! My 2nd place in Tirreno, behind Gilbert, I consider as my best result so far. It’s a World Tour race and it was my ‘hello’ to the big audience. For myself it was a confirmation of a good 2010 and it proved that I’m doing well.

After your strong finish in Tour de Suisse, how do you feel right now just a few days before your first Tour de France?
Today [Wednesday, edt.] we arrived to the Tour de France by train, which made me feel a bit tired… Nevertheless I feel great. The national championship was my last race and I finished that one well. I’m ready to go for it now.

So what are your ambitions?
I’d like to go all the way to Paris and in some mountain stages I will try to be in the top ten. Besides that I need to ride this Tour to get more experienced.

Have you picked out any specific stages where you would like to shine?
No, for me they are all of the same interest. The Alpes as well as the Pyrenees should be fine for me.

Looking at the Vacansoleil Tour-team is sure seems very interesting with a lot of potential. What do you think we can expect from the team in the Tour?
You will see us in the breakaways, in which we will try to catch a stage win. We have everything to make it happen: sprinters, climbers and attackers. We have the good team for it, I believe.

Do you think we will see any of the Vacansoleil riders up there in the top15 in the GC as well? Maybe even yourself?
To be honest: I don’t think so. We don’t really have that ambition. For sure I want to see how far I can reach, but top 15 doesn’t really sound realistic to me.

In the Tour de Suisse you were riding with some of the main GC-contenders for the Tour. Who do you see as the strongest one right now?
Cunego wasn’t bad at all! Only his time trial wasn’t that perfect. Andy Schleck was only impressive in a couple of days. If that was his plan, then he has done well. But Contador will win the Tour anyway, I suppose.

Let’s end with 4 quick questions. Who will win the following jerseys;
Yellow: Contador
Green: Hushovd
Polka-dot: Vinokourov
White: Gesink

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beautiful national colors in France this summer!

The world’s biggest sports event this year will be attended by the world’s best riders – in their home colors! That’s the result after the weekend’s national championships where riders like Bradley Wiggins, Fabian Cancellara, Fränk Schleck & Philippe Gilbert ended on top of the podiums.

A quick look at the results gives us the following national road champions ready for the Tour de France starting this Saturday.

British champ: Bradley Wiggins
Luxembourg champ: Fränk Schleck
Spanish champ: José Joaquin Rojas
Belgian champ: Philippe Gilbert
Danish champ: Nicki Sørensen
French champ: Sylvain Chavanel
Suisse champ: Fabian Cancellara
Slovenian champ: Grega Bole
Russian champ: Pavel Brutt

While most of these riders were pre-selected by their teams for the Tour already, Pavel Brutt really did shoot the parrot. His Russian Katusha team had earlier announced that only Russian riders would be selected for the Tour this time and with 7 riders pre-selected, Pavel Brutt was just one  outof six riders fighting for the last two spots. A spot I feel pretty sure he will get now after taking the jersey. Can’t really see a Russian government supported team with 100 % Russian riders not picking their new national champion, you?

Only question now is for long we will actually see Philippe Gilbert’s Belgian jersey in the Tour-peloton. I have a feeling that it will be rather yellow the first week…

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Entrevista: Beñat Intxausti (Movistar)

Beñat, lo primero mis condolencias por la pérdida de Xavi. ¿Cómo ha sido tu vuelta a  la competición después de todo lo sucedido?
Gracias. Pues no ha sido nada facil la vuelta a la competición. Fueron unas semanas muy duras, pero gracias a la ayuda que me han dado muchas personas he tirado para adelante.

En tu ultimo año hiciste un gran Criterium Internacional, Vuelta al Pais Vasco y Vuelta a Asturias con Euskaltel-Euskadi, pero tras firmar con Movistar tu Vuelta a España fue un tanto decepcionante. ¿Qué ocurrió? 
La verdad me salio muy mal. Fui con mucha ilusión y ambición, y desde los primeros dias empeze con muy malas sensaciones. El calor extremo que nos hizo me ahogo y ya no levanté cabeza.

Tres equipos diferentes en tus últimos tres años. Qué diferencias encuentras entre ellos y qué hace a Movistar el major de ellos? 
Cada equipo es un mundo con sus cosas, pero por trayectoria, nivel, historia y todo, Movistar Team es el mejor equipo sin duda.

En Dauphiné, no acabaste la última etapa, pero ¿estás preparado para el Tour? 
Sí, estoy preparado. A dauphine fui a ultima hora por todo el tema que me paso y es que además justo unos dias antes de irme cogí un virus que me dejo muy vacío el cuerpo. Dauphine cogí como un entrenamiento de calidad importante.

Sin un gran líder como Valverde, muchas de las expectativas están puestas en tí como uno de los líderes del equipo. ¿Cómo manejas esa presión? y ¿cuáles son tus objetivos para este Tour?
En ese sentido estoy tranquilo, estoy en un equipo que saben llevaste muy bien. Mis objetivos del Tour son acabar, hacer lo mejor posible y estar delante en las etapas de montaña.

¿Has inspeccionado alguna de las etapas del Tour?
No. Conozco algun puerto pero no he reconocido. Solamente la CRI de Grenoble, que es la misma que en Dauphiné.

Tú vienes de competir [en Dauphiné] con algunos de los favoritos para la general del Tour. ¿A quién has visto más fuerte?
Wiggins, Van den Broeck, Evans y Vinokourov.

Beuno, por ultimo, tres preguntas rápidas:

Estará Beñat Intxausti en el top-15 del Tour?
Ganará Beñat Intxausti una etapa en el Tour?
Lo intentare.
Y cuántas etapas ganará Movistar en el Tour?
3 etapas.

About C-Cycling

While waiting for the web designer guys to bring me the layout for my next cycling site, I'll be posting exclusive interviews and regular comments from the professional cycling world at this very blog. It's not exactly ideal, but it has to do for now.

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