Duarte: “Best feelings I have ever had at this time of the year”
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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Duarte: “Best feelings I have ever had at this time of the year”

by VeloNation Press at 11:56 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Colombia rider cautiously optimistic about team’s chances of being selected for Giro d’Italia

Fabio DuarteKeen to move up a level at 27 years of age, Team Colombia’s Fabio Duarte has said that he is experiencing very encouraging signs during his preparation for the 2014 season, raising hopes that he could take some big victories in the year ahead.

The 2008 world under 23 champion became a husband in 2013 and his wife Daniela gave birth to his first child, Marianella, on December 26th. That stability plus the natural strength which comes when a rider is heading towards thirty are both factors in his improvement, and so took the work he has been doing.

“It is true, I am as serene and focused as ever in my life. I am training hard and I am experiencing the best feelings I have ever had at this time of the year,” he said.

Duarte used December 31st to do a reconnaissance of the Montecampione climb, which will be the location for the conclusion of the 15th stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia. It’s a race that the team is pushing hard for an invite to, and hopes to get news of its wildcard selection in the coming days.

Duarte changed things around this winter, deciding to remain in Italy with his family rather than heading back to his native Colombia. While the weather would have been better in the South American country, he is convinced he made the right choice.

“Some might think that staying in Italy would have been a disadvantage, but it really was not the case here: I could focus on my preparation only, keeping everyday contact with Claudio Corti and our sports directors,” he said.

“Last year, I could tell something wasn’t working to plan in winter time already, and being away from my family all the way through the season distracted me more than it should.”

“This time out, it’s an all-new story: in these months I was able to make the best for myself as a rider, working hard to hit the ground running, starting at the Tour de San Luis. The climate and weather is different in Italy than in Colombia, but that did not affect me a bit: on the other hand, I could enjoy a deal of tranquillity and serenity that is really making a huge difference.”

Duarte will get to Colombia shortly, leaving for Bogotà tomorrow to train there for two weeks. He will then move on to Argentina, where he and the team will make their season debut in the Tour de San Luis. Although it’s early in the year, he’s hoping to do something good in terms of results.

“I have never raced in San Luis before, I know many first-tier athletes have been starting their season there in the last few season, and that will be the case this time too,” he said. “It will be a useful comparison: no one will be in top condition yet, but personally I hope to provide a good performance – it would be important for me.”

Duarte took an important pro result in 2013 when he was second behind eventual race winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) on the Giro’s stage to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. He hopes to be in the running for a stage win and high overall finish in May.

Team Colombia received a wildcard invite twelve months ago and he is relatively confident that it will do so again. “Everyone in the team hopes to be back to the Giro, and we honestly believe in our chances. Though there is a number of strong teams with a chance, I believe Team Colombia provided a good solid performance in 2013, and we would deserve to be selected again,” he said.

“We only missed a stage win, and we want a second chance to grab it. Montecampione? Why not: it would be a nice one to dedicate to Marianella…”


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