Amstel Gold 2012 runner-up Vanendert beginning important season today
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Amstel Gold 2012 runner-up Vanendert beginning important season today

by VeloNation Press at 7:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Lotto Belisol rider joins Jurgen Van den Broeck on team in Challenge Mallorca races

Jelle VanendertLast year’s Amstel Gold Race runner-up Jelle Vanendert is about to begin his build-up to what he intends to be a victorious Classics campaign, with the Lotto Belisol rider set to make his season debut in the Challenge Mallorca. The Spanish series comprises four one day races and starts today with the Trofeo Palma.

Vanendert has made strong progress in the past two seasons, holding the Tour de France King of the Mountains jersey for several stages in 2011 and winning stage fourteen, then landing that strong Amstel result, fourth in Flèche Wallonne, seventh in Brabantse Pijl and tenth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year. At 27 years of age, there’s every reason to believe he’ll keep improving, and a big win could well lie ahead in the next couple of months.

“As a cyclist you always look forward to your first race of the season. Usually the circumstances in Mallorca are good, so that seems to me the ideal place to start my cycling year,” he said in advance of today’s first stage. “My winter has been really good. When the season ends, I put the bike aside for one month, and afterwards I start to build up. I haven’t been ill and was able to train well the whole time. Those two weeks of bad weather didn’t bother me, I rode on the cross bicycle and trained some more on the rolls.”

Riders can dip in and out of the Challenge Mallorca races, with the format of four single day events making it possible that they do just one of them, all four, or something in between. Vanendert said that he is likely to do all of the events, thus giving him a good opener prior to his next races.

The approach right now is without pressure. “I don’t have any concrete goals; it’s mainly about seeing how the shape is at the moment and getting in the competition rhythm,” he explained. “I choose to start the season in February because I can have a longer winter and because my first peak is later than for most of the riders. After Mallorca the Ruta del Sol is on my programme, which perfectly matches this four days. There it might be possible to pick out a stage or keep more of an eye on the GC.

“At the beginning of March the Tirreno-Adriatico follows, and after that I go training for two weeks in the Sierra Nevada. Then I will ride the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco where I will finalize my preparation for the Ardennes Classics.”

Other Lotto Belisol riders who are set to take part in the Majorcan races are Gaetan Bille, Sander Cordeel, Kenny Dehaes, Bart De Clercq, Vicente Reynes, Dennis Vanendert and Jurgen Van den Broeck, who was fourth in last year’s Tour de France and is another rider who should shine for the team this year.



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