Van Avermaet and Van den Broeck talk up their chances in 2010
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Van Avermaet and Van den Broeck talk up their chances in 2010

by Ben Atkins at 10:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

After the departure of World Champion Cadel Evans to BMC Racing, OmegaPharma-Lotto’s two domestic Grand Tour hopes have been talking up their chances for the coming season.

Jurgen Van Den Broeck finished fifteenth at last year’s Tour de France, 20’50” behind winner Alberto Contador but almost 25 minutes ahead of team captain Evans. Greg Van Avermaet had a relatively quiet 2009, but a phenomenal 2008 included a stage win and the mountains jersey in the Vuelta a España.

Both riders are still in their mid twenties – Van Den Broeck 26 and Van Avermaet 24 – and both feel that they can go even further this year, according to Sporza.

“My fifteenth place at the Tour should become a top ten,” said Van Den Broeck. I also want a stage win and the polka-dot [mountains] jersey. The fight will be harder this time because I’m sure the favourites will give me less space.

Van Den Broeck will also look to do well in Paris-Nice and the Ardennes classics, but knows that he will have a job to do in the latter. “This is one race where I’ve always felt good,” he said of Paris-Nice. “I’ll ride the Walloon classics to assist Philippe Gilbert.”

Van Avermaet doesn’t name any specific targets for the coming season but feels confident that he can put last year’s lacklustre season behind him and show more of his form from 2008.

“Last year I never had the felling that I could join the fight for victories,” he said, “but I still believe in myself.”

Van Avermaet’s problem, he says, is less down to his own quality but more to do with overtraining in the off-season.

“My ambition is no less, but I’m probably a bit calmer,” he continued. “Last year I went on massive winter training rides, probably degrading my condition more than building it. The problem is that you only notice later when you miss the freshness during the season.

“Now I know that you sometimes need to pace yourself. In November and December I did less training than in previous years, I did find it difficult however to have two rest days every week.”

If either or both riders can step up and reproduce the form of previous seasons they will easily fill the gap left by Evans’ departure.

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