Chainel and Turgot confident for Flanders after brilliant De Panne
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Friday, April 02, 2010

Chainel and Turgot confident for Flanders after brilliant De Panne

by Bjorn Haake at 12:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Flanders
 

The Bouygues Telecom pair Steve Chainel and Sébastien Turgot had an outstanding Driedaagse de Panne-Koksijde and both Frenchmen are now looking ahead to Flanders' nicest - the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Both are confident for a good result in the grueling 262km race on Easter Sunday. In an interview to French Eurosport the Bouygues riders talked about their ambitions ahead of Flanders.

Chainel was not surprised about his good performance in the Driedaagse, a three-day Belgian stage race. He opened it up with a win in stage one. "For the last two weeks, since Samyn, I have been feeling that my power is increasing. I am in a spiral of confidence and success." He finished fourth in Dwars door Vlaanderen and felt well in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, a race he desperately wanted to finish.

The stage one win may be a good sign for Sunday. "In my mind I targeted the opening stage, because it is the most difficult. It also resembles the Tour of Flanders. In the final, I felt very good." His rivals were busy watching the most important riders in the break. "The others didn't know me. In France, I stand out a bit, but the international peloton doesn't know me."

A cyclocross specialist in Flanders

Chainel is only in the ProTour since last year. The cyclocross specialist has already lit up some of the races in the spring of 2009, even though he had to drop back when decision time was on. His victory in De Panne satisfies him. "It means I have my place in the peloton and that I can be trusted. For me, accustomed to cyclocross, Belgium is the Mecca. This is where I really wanted to win. Every winter I spend eight weekends here [in Flanders]."

Bouygues is starting to build a classics team. "We lost Arnaud Labbe, but we have William Bonnet," Chainel said. "A lot of us can go onto the podium. We also have an added year of experience. We know the routes now and with Dominique Arnould we have a precious guide who knows all the routes by heart. Of course, we can lose a collarbone on any corner; we venture more and feel strong."

Chainel is already excited about the Ronde. "It is the classics of classics and for me, it is the classic for reference, more than Paris-Roubaix. I am very well suited to it and since the beginning of the season the Ronde was always in my head somewhere."

He won't change his aggressive ways that saw him spew out energy last year in breakaways. "I prefer to finish 26th after I tried something than to be eighth while just following wheels. We will have to try to counter Quick Step or Saxo Bank. We have the team for it and we are ready to fight."

Clever tactics prevail

While Chainel dropped out after his win, Turgot won stage two in De Panne and continued to end up in eighth place overall after the final time trial. "I was very calm throughout stage two. We wanted to put either Alexandre [Pichot] or myself in the break. The others put up a false train, to break the rhythm. I was off the best in the break, as I didn't have to pull," Turgot said. The benefits when your teammate is leading the race.

First and foremost, Turgot was relieved after his win. "I needed that for my confidence. My 2009 was hampered by mononucleosis. I needed a victory, as I didn't feel at ease on my bike. I am proud to have won here. The Belgians are jealous of the French when they win on their terrain - that makes it even better."

Turgot knows where part of the motivation for good team performances comes from. "We know we owe it to the team and we want to help find a new sponsor. We also want to show we are not just small jokers. Pierrick Fédrigo and Thomas Voeckler boost us, we have excellent leaders. And with Marion Clignet, we are the top of the top."

Like Chainel, Turgot knows what Flanders means. "This really isn't a race just like any other. It is one of those that we watched on TV when we were younger." But Turgot stays realistic for the best placing of the French team. "We know it will be difficult to beat Boonen, Cancellara or Flecha. We will shoot for a top 20."

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