Domestique or contender?
Tanel Kangert has been an invaluable help to Astana and Nibali in the last couple of years, and he has been so good that if there was a domestique award he would like be amongst the top contenders.
Kangert is strong in the race against the clock, he has got a decent finish, and he can manage to stick to the best in the mountains. All these are qualities that make for a super domestique, but they can – in fact – also make for a reliable Grand Tour contender.
In an interview with Cyclingnews Kangert now reveals part of his plans for 2014.
"At the moment I have the Tour in my programme and I really hope to do that. It wasn't my choice, it was the choice of the team but I’ll do other races with a different approach to racing and training," Kangert told Cyclingnews.
"The Giro remains my favorite Grand Tour but I think it's time to do the Tour de France now. It's a good time to test myself in the best race in the world. I'll have the same role I had in the Giro this year and I'm happy with that. I wouldn't want more responsibility in my first Tour."
Kangert had an impressive win in 2012, in the Tour de Suisse, and a successful 2013 season, with thirteenth overall in the Giro, and eleventh in the Vuelta. Most admiralbe is it that he has managed these results while giving his all as a domestique. Still, Kangert knows that he has to give everything for Nibali in the Tour, but he dreams of doing the Giro in the future. Either as a leader or with free reins.
"I don't think The Tour will be my favourite race. It's very hard to focus on the race and the result. There's a lot of good riders with good teams around them but obviously the goal for us is to perform well at the Tour."
"I would like to go to the Giro again, either as a leader or a co leader and get a good result."
Astana sports director Giuseppe Martinelli has earlier stated that Kangert might get to ride his own chances in the Vuelta, and it will be interesting to see just what the Estonian is capable of. It will not be the first time that a talented domestique gets to give it a go during a stage race, and then to falter due to the added responsibility and nerves.
Nevertheless, Kangert will add to an impressive Astana troupe in the Tour, and he just might arrive for the Vuelta with strong legs.
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