Leopard-Trek's Nygaard talks Tour and Italy
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Leopard-Trek's Nygaard talks Tour and Italy

by Samuel Morrison at 6:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia
 
'I've always been in love with Italy. Tuscany is in my heart'

Leopard-Trek will race the Tour de France in July as one of the strongest teams. Amongst their ranks they have the powerful combination of the Schleck brothers, Fränk and Andy, and four-time world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara.

"There's no need to deny it, we are going to France to win," General Manager Brian Nygaard told Tuttobiciweb. "Definitely, we are aiming for the top. Andy has shown that he still has plenty of room for improvement and already in these few months of working together, I could see how he is more mature, more aware than ever before.

"He will have first-class technical support for his big goal, winning the Grande Boucle."

The Grande Boucle, or the Tour de France, runs form July 2 to 24. Luxembourg's Andy Schleck finished second in the last two years behind Alberto Contador.

Leopard-Trek will first aim for the classics with Fabian Cancellara and the Giro d'Italia in May. Nygaard is Danish, but Italy has a place in his heart.

"I've always been in love with Italy, and thanks to cycling I lived many wonderful years in Tuscany. Now, for work, I live in Luxembourg, but Tuscany is in my heart," he added.

"I came to cycling by chance. In 2000, I graduated in philosophy at the University of Århus and was waiting to leave for a Ph.D. abroad. During the summer, they asked me if I was interested in looking after the PR for team CSC. I agreed, and thought it would only be for one summer. Then, at the end of year, I was offered a full-time place. I asked to live and work in Italy, when they said, 'yes,' I accepted.

"Eight years working for Riis, I learnt from everyone: racers, journalists, technicians, sponsors. Last year, I moved to team Sky, where I found a really new, ambitious team, with an innovative mindset. I can say I nearly learnt more in one year with Sky than in the rest of my career. Now, my commitment is to pass my knowledge to the members of Team Leopard."

For the Giro d'Italia, Nygaard will field Frenchman Brice Feillu and Italians Davide Viganò and Daniele Bennati in the nine-man team.

"We must make some choices since it's our first year. Regardless, we will have an important team for the Giro. You know how much I love Italy and to do well in the country is one of my goals," added Nygaard.

"Daniele [Bennati] is a champion. He is an important rider that can win big races. He is also an intelligent man who can return to the highest level. He has what it takes."

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