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"In this year's Tour de France, I will be a domestique instead of a captain and I can actually accept that. I understand that to try to challenge Team Sky, we need to bring the strongest possible team and I have been selected for i...

Photo: Sirotti






28.11.2013 @ 18:45 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In 2013, Jakob Fuglsang confirmed his potential as a grand tour rider when he finished 7th in the Tour de France but in 2014, he will have to step back into a domestique role. The Dane accepts that he will have to ride in support of Vincenzo Nibali in the Tour de France but doesn't rule out a high overall result for himself.


For several years, Jakob Fuglsang was known as a loyal domestique for the Schleck brothers. At Saxo Bank, Leopard Trek and Radioshack, he sacrificed his own chances for his captains and accepted his role as a domestique.


Prior to the 2013 season, he decided to change his role when he signed a contract with Astana. He was promised a captaincy role in the Tour de France and he confirmed his potential when he finished 7th in the biggest role in the world.


One would expect such a performance to open the doors for more freedom but on Astana, things are different. With Vincenzo Nibali on the roster, there are bigger goals than a possible top 5 finish in a grand tour and next year the Giro champion has given himself the ultimate challenge: to try to challenge Chris Froome in the Tour de France.


When Fuglsang arrived at the Astana gathering in Montecatini Terme, he was still hopeful that he would be allowed to chase personal success in the Giro d'Italia. However, the captaincy role for the Italian race was given to Michele Scarponi who will join forces with Fabio Aru to form a two-pronged attack in the Italian race.


Instead, Fuglsang has been asked to focus solely on the Tour de France where he will ride in support of Nibali. It took some time to come to terms with the decision but he has now accepted his new role.


"In this year's Tour de France, I will be domestique instead of captain and I can actually accept that," he told BT. "I understand that to try to challenge Team Sky, we need to bring the strongest possible team and I have been selected for it. I wanted to ride the Giro d'Italia but have been told by the team that they want me to be at 100% for the Tour de France.


"At first I thought "Why?" but after having talked with the team and listened to their ideas, I actually understand it and see how the team has to work at the Tour de France. They are not dissatisfied with my performances in this year's Tour de France. That's not the reason why I don't get the captaincy role. The point is: If we want to try to beat Team Sky and Chris Froome, we need to have the strongest possible line-up, and I openly admit that Nibali is a better option than me when it comes to beating Froome."



However, Fuglsang doesn't rule out that he may finish high in the overall standings while working for Nibali.


"[Roman] Kreuziger was actually a domestique for Contador but still finished in the top 5 in the Tour de France and he would probably have done so even if Contador had performed better," he said. "It is possible to have a rider that fights for the win and another rider that fights for the top 5. You never know what happens at the Tour de France and I don't see my own options as being completely ruled out."


While Fuglsang will sacrifice himself in the Tour de France, he has been asked to chase success in one-day races and on select stages in stage races. With a 2nd place in the Giro dell'Emilia and 4th places in Il Lombardia and Amstel Gold Race and 2nd places on stages of the 2013 editions of the Dauphiné and the Tour, he has shown that he knows how to perform well in these disciplines.


Fuglsang's schedule has only been determined up until the Tour and so he may still get his chance to lead the team in the Vuelta.



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