Alexandr Kolobnev to aim for Tour de France success
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Alexandr Kolobnev to aim for Tour de France success

by Shane Stokes at 8:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Flat nature of world championship course make gold medal campaign far more difficult

Alexandr KolobnevTeam Katusha’s Alexandr Kolobnev has said that he is interested in aiming for next year’s Tour de France, riding the race for the second time in his career. However, unlike this year, he will do it as a goal unto itself, rather than using it to prepare for a later season target.

“A few years ago, I knew the UCI World Championship´s route, when I was in Saxo Bank,” he stated today. “It doesn´t fit to my strengths. It only has a small climb, so it will be an opportunity for sprinters. Knowing this, the Tour has become one of the major goals of the season.”

Kolobnev had a quiet Tour this season, with a best stage placing of 30th. However when he is on form, he is one of the most impressive riders in the peloton, as evidenced by his two silver medals in the world road race championships plus his bronze medal in the Olympic Games. He was also second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège this year.

He and his Katusha team were present in Paris yesterday to see the route, and he gave his assessment afterwards. “Looking at the profiles of the stages that we could see, I think that the first week will be tough because it starts in an area of heavy rain and wind. The teams will have to work hard for the leaders, protecting and preventing falls.

“The third week again will be very hard, with that stage of approximately 100 km (stage 19 to Alpe d'Huez) being one in which Purito [Joaquim Rodriguez] has told me, "many people can return home". Kolobnev was referring to the third-last stage of the race, which could create very big gaps and put riders in difficulty of making the time cut.

That route is likely to be too hilly for him, in terms of going for the overall classification. However individual stages are very much a realistic target, providing he is in his best form for what will be the 98th edition of the race.

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