Saturday, August 20, 2011

Exclusive Interview - Thomas Löfkvist (Rider, Team SKY)

After skipping the Tour de France and becoming father in July, Thomas Löfkvist is now back in the Team SKY tricot ready to help his team mate Bradley Wiggins in the Vuelta. And hopefully his performances in Spain will gain him a spot as the only Swedish rider at the World Champions in Copenhagen after the Vuelta.

Thomas, once again congratulation on becoming a father. How has your Vuelta preparation been since that?
Thanks a lot. I just got the word that I was on the team right before Tour of Poland, so it has been a very fast preparation this time.

So how is your condition right now?
I think it’s all good. I have been training hard in the summer and now with Tour of Poland in the legs, the condition should be all right.

What is your role on the team this time?
Well, originally I wasn’t scheduled to be in the Vuelta, but since Wiggins decided to go the team wanted a strong line up, so I was picked to help him in the mountains like I did in the Tour last year.

Wiggins started out the Tour in the shape of his life, how do you see his chances in the Vuelta after his crash?
I have heard that he is still very sharp so we have high expectations! I don’t know if he can stay up front on the very steep climbs, but if his condition is good everything should be fine.

And what about the opening time trial? Could it be a disadvantage to get the red jersey on the first stage with such a tough Vuelta ahead?
For sure we want to do a great TTT and we won’t mind taking the jersey either. Having the race leader on the team will give a big boost on the morale!

In the Giro, you started out pretty strong but lost time on the first long climb (Etna, stage 9). In the Vuelta the first long climb (Sierra Nevada) comes on the stage 4 already. Does that fact worry you?
Well during the Giro I had no flow because of my two antibiotics treatments, so ever since stage 8 I wasn’t really myself. Normally it suits me when we hit the mountains early in a Grand Tour when I’m still fresh. We will see...

What about the rest of the course?
I have only taken a quick look at it, I need to study the race book a bit more. There are a lot of mountains on the menu, but no ‘crazy’ days so it seems like an okay route. Of course Angliru will be something extra, but I’ll take it day by day and if I get the opportunity I will try to go for a stage win.

How about the hot weather in Spain?
I hope it won’t be as hot as last year. I like it when it’s a bit cooler!

About the World Champs. in Copenhagen. Sweden will only have one rider at the starting line. Are you already selected or do you have to prove yourself during the Vuelta?
Well, I hope it will get the spot. The Vuelta is a great way of getting ready, so I really hope it will be me on that starting line!

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