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“My role in the races is to be a key rider for Arnaud Démare. Therefore, I will do races like Paris-Nice. I think that’s exciting, and if he has bad day, it can open up opportunities for me too."

Photo: A.S.O.

ARNAUD DEMARE

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22.12.2015 @ 07:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Daniel Hoelgaard will turn professional with the FDJ team in 2015. The Norwegian hopes to gain experience in the classics and is also expected to do Paris-Nice in a year when he will play an important role as lead-out man for Arnaud Demare.

 

Daniel Hoelgaard has been training in Spain to prepare for his first pro season. His schedule has been planned until March and includes both WorldTour stage races and prestigious cobbled classics.

 

”I am very pleased with the schedule. I am motivated by the races that have been chosen and am even more pleased that I chose FDJ,” Hoelgaard  tells procycling.no.

 

Hoelgaard will start his season at the stage races Étoile de Bessèges (February 3-7) and La Méditerranéenne (February 11-14). Then he will get his first taste of the traditional Belgian opening weekend. In the last weekend of February, he will test himself in the semi-classics Omloop Het Nieuwslad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. A few days later he will be at the start of Le Samyn in Wallonia.

 

His WorldTour debut will come in the season's first major stage race, Paris-Nice (March 6-13). The race to the Sun which includes parts of Mont Ventoux in 2016, will be preparation for his first participation in one of the monuments. In late March, Hoelgaard is expected to be on the starting line of Milano-Sanremo.

 

”Overall the schedule is fine. I will start in France and has been given confidence in some of the big races. I want to perform as well as possible and to show myself. That I am a candidate for a race like Paris-Roubaix later in the season makes me even more motivated.”

 

This year the FDJ management will test a new system. With long lists for most races, they hope to create healthy internal competition and keep riders on their toes. Hoelgaard likes the new scheme and thinks riders will perform better as a result.

 

”I think it's a great way to do it.  I have received positive signals that I will be riding all races I have in my schedule. It will probably take injury or bad training for me to misss them. But I think this (system) will keep everybody sharp. I think it makes sure that those who deserve it, will get the chance,” he says.

 


At the training camp in Calpe, Hoelgaard tested himself in a lead-out role for Arnaud Démare. The fast Norwegian who has several stage wins in the Tour de Bretagne and Tour de Normandie can thus become one of the Frenchman's most important domestiques in the coming season.

 

Hoelgaard does not rule out that he will get personal chances if Demare has bad luck or a bad day.

 

“My role in the races is to be a key rider for Arnaud Démare. Therefore, I will do races like Paris-Nice. I think that’s exciting, and if he has bad day, it can open up opportunities for me too."

 

Hoelgaard shall act either as the final or penultimate lead-out man for Demare. Together with Lithuanian Ignatas Konovalovas and Frenchman Mickaël Delage, the former Joker rider will make up the core of helpers around the former French champion.

 

In 2014 Demare had a brilliant season with 14 wins. This year it was harder for the 24-year-old who only won twice. In 2016 the Frenchman must again prove his ability to win.

 

Hoelgaard expects the cooperation with Demare to be good even though the Frenchman speaks little English, and the Norwegian speaks little French.

 

”Konovalovas speaks perfect English. I do not think it's going to be a big problem during races,” Hoelgaard told the Norwegian website.

 

If he does well, Hoelgaard can join Demare in Giro d'Italia for which he is part of the 14-rider preselection.

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