Guardini given good programme of flat early season races, aiming to get sprinting career back on track
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Guardini given good programme of flat early season races, aiming to get sprinting career back on track

by Shane Stokes at 7:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
“I want to concentrate on the first races, do as well as I can”

andrea GuardiniAndrea Guardini has been given a good programme of early season races by his Astana team, with both he and his squad hoping that he will get off to a positive start, notch an early win or two, and have a better run of things in 2014.

The Italian was regarded as a future star of the sport when he had a superb pro debut in 2011, notching up eleven victories in that first year. His second season with the Farnese Vini team was also a good one, with Guardini notching up a staggering six stages out of ten in the Tour de Langakwi, netting three in the Tour of Qinghai Lake and also taking stage eighteen in the Giro d’Italia.

That first Grand Tour success saw him outsprint Mark Cavendish to the line, displaying the sheer speed Guardini has when his train puts him in the right position. Beating the Manxman was important in that regard, and helped secure his move to Astana prior to the 2013 season.

However his first year in the WorldTour was a disappointment. He took just one win, stage seven of the Tour de Langkawi, and was otherwise absent from the top step of the podium.

That was difficult for his confidence and his morale, particularly as he had been looking to make a good impression on his Astana team.

Guardini has a second chance this year and will have plenty of opportunities in the opening months. He knows that he can turn things around if his condition is good.

“I will start with Dubai and Qatar, then Malaysia [the Tour de Langkawi – ed.],” he told VeloNation this week. “There are lost of stages for me and I want to get really good results at the start of the year. I think the start of the season is important, to try to do some good performances.”

Guardini and the rest of his Astana team are currently taking part in a team training camp in Calpe, Spain. Aside from clocking up important pre-season kilometres, they are also conducting bike fit sessions, making sure their position strikes the right balance between aerodynamics, efficiency and comfort, discussing training programmes and racing schedules and bonding with team-mates and staff.

“My training has been good,” Guardini said, speaking about what he had done thus far this winter. “In Italy there was good weather and here in Calpe is a nice place for training.”

Now 24 years of age, he still has time to develop, but also wants to regain the momentum he displayed in his first two pro seasons. 2013 was clearly not of the same calibre, but he can be philosophical about it at this point.

“It was not a straightforward season due to disrupted condition, caused by sickness and other problems. But I gained a lot of experience from the bad situations,” he reasoned. “When you are not 100 percent, you need to stay concentrated.”

Taking a Grand Tour stage win would be a clear sign that he is back on track but, as of now, he is not sure what he is likely to do. “At the moment I don’t know,” he said, when asked if he was likely to do the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France or the Vuelta a España.

“I want to concentrate on the first races, do as well as I can, and then we will see.”

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