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"The team wants me to do the Giro and, as an Italian, support Trofimov who will be our GC riders, and Kristoff who will try to win some stages. Then Alexander will do the Vuelta to prepare for the Worlds."

Photo: Sirotti

ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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LUCA PAOLINI

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05.12.2014 @ 13:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After his successful showing in the 2014 Tour de France, Alexander Kristoff may skip the French grand tour in 2015 when Joaquim Rodriguez is set to lead Katusha in France. Team veteran Luca Paolini tells Tuttobiciweb that the Norwegian will do the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana while the Italian is dreaming about Milan-Sanremo.

 

After the Tour de France, Luca Paolini did some races in Belgium and apart from some commitments with the national team at the end of the season, he hasn't done much. He has now had almost two months of inactivity and is now back in training, trying to recover some of the time that has been lost because of bad weather.

 

"It is a very delicate situation," he told Tuttobiciweb. "I was 10 days in Gran Canaria with my wife to work as much as possible in the warm weather. From there I flew directly to Calpe where I will stay with the team until December 15. I'm trying to recover the days that I lost during the month of November because of heavy rains in northern Italy as the idea is to start strongly. In the morning we start with bodyweight exercises under the guidance of an instructor. The we go for a ride divided into three groups: one for the classics riders, one for the grand tour riders and one for those who will do the Tour Down Under. I am in the classics group with Kristoff and [new signing Jacopo] Guarnieri. Jacopo is already integrated in the group and he is a brilliant guy, not shy. He already feels as part of the group and hopes to do well in the Katusha jersey."

 

Paolini has often been one of the best riders in the cobbled classics, won the 2013 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and has finished on the podium in the Tour of Flanders. Those races will again be a big goal for the Italian.

 

"My plan was to start in Argentina but honestly I wanted to go there about ten days before the race to finalize the preparation in warm weather as I have done in recent years," he said. "This year, however, it seems that we will only leave four days before the start of the race. Maybe I should avoid the long trip and return to Calpe with the team to train there for 20 days in January. We will decide about the best solution very soon.

 

"In February, however, I will certainly be at the Tour of Qatar and Oman. The I have planned another team training camp before Tirreno-Adriatico. Then I will aim at being strong in Sanremo and the Northern classics."

 

In 2014, Paolini was expected to play a key role for Joaquim Rodriguez in the Giro d'Italia and for Alexander Kristoff in the Tour de France. While the former crashed out of the Italian race, the latter was greatly helped by the Italian when he won two stages in France.

 

Next year the roles may be reversed for the two captains.

 

"As for the grand tours, Purito shoul do the Tour," Paolini said. "The team wants me to do the Giro and, as an Italian, support Trofimov who will be our GC riders, and Kristoff who will try to win some stages. Then Alexander will do the Vuelta to prepare for the Worlds. He has seen that the course seems very suitable for a rider with his characteristics."

 

For now, however, Paolini is focused on the classics.

 

"I have no specific goals but as always I will give my best," he said. "As in previous year, I would like to ride in support of the team and take some personal satisfaction whenever it is possible. I have already made Sanremo a goal. I have always liked the classic route which is now back. Via Roma is historical. In recent years, Sanremo has not been a real Sanremo. I recall the classic editions won by Paolo (Bettini, ed.) where I did well. In 2015, Kristoff who has shown that he can survive Poggio and Cipressa and do a good sprint, can win again. I'd like to be back on the podium. I just hope that the winter at home won't be too hard. I really want to train and start the season strongly." 

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