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"Surely the top 20 is the objective from the start, but in a race of 21 days there are many things that can happen, and you always have time to change the target to go for stages from breakaways."

Photo: Sirotti




22.10.2015 @ 07:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Last year Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne) finally made his debut in the Tour de France but the race ended in a disgraceful manner for the talented Argentinean. On track for a top 20 in the overall standings, the Bretagne leader was disqualified after being given a short lift by the Ag2r team car.


In 2016, Sepulveda aims at a successful return and barring disaster he wil again lead his French team which will be known as Fortuneo Vital Concept. He carefully studied the presentation of the course and as soon as he has recovered from the broken fibula that ended his campaign prematurely, he will focus on the French race.


"Thankfully, the recovery is on track. Although the fibula has been slow to heal, the good thing is that the tibia is well and that helps a lot," he told Ciclismo Internacional. "Gradually I am starting on the rollers and can walk normally again."


Sepulveda has taken another step in his progression as a riders and so drew a positive balance of 2015 "I think it was a good year with progression. I was able to win two races [Classic Sud-Ardeche and Drome Classic] and take second in an 8-day race [Tour of Turkey] so I have to be happy with how the yeat went," he said. "It also gives me self-confidence and confidence from the team. I could add experience and that's what I value most in the face of the coming years."


Sepulveda learned important things at his Tour debut.


"It is the most demanding race of them all, and the peloton has  much stress which makes it difficult to position yourself and also creates many crashesfalls. Furthermore, the race is very fast. But I think that while this was the first impression, I think that every year one can be progressing with experience."


Sepulveda shared his views on the course.


"The first impression is that the route is more mountainous than in previous years. I think, as they say, it will be three demanding weeks, but especially the last one where everyone arrives with fatigue and has to tackle some very challenging climbs."


Sepulveda has been characterized by his intelligence and sincerity and does not hide his thoughts about the route. 


"While I have not analyzed it at 100%, I find it a more enjoyable Tour start in 2016. In 2015 the stages in the Netherlands, in Belgium and Northern France were very nervous and without major differences between the leaders, so I think the mountains in each of the three weeks will make it a different race compared to 2015," he said.


Riding for a French team, Seulveda knows the host country.


"I do not know if it helps or hurts me but I think the fact that we will have more French stages and less stages in Northern Europe minimizes the number of incidents and time losses in the flat stages."


A new feature of the next Tour is the inclusion of the legendary Mont Ventoux.


"I have never done the Ventoux and the truth is that I know few of the climbs in the final stages. But the good thing is that there are nine months so in addition to personal training, the team will probably organize reconnaissaince  of the key stages."


Sepulveda is quite clear when poitning to the decisive stages . "From the first week there may be occasional differences among the leaders, but I think the third week will be important, and the time trial will be key."


The Argentine does not have a secure place because his squad need to be invited, but there are great chances that he will make his second appearance. 


"The goal would be to shine in the mountains and finish in the top  20 in GC."


"The team have signed a few reinforcements for this type of race [most notably Chris Anker Sørensen and Francis Mourey], and that's a good thing. Surely the top 20 is the objective from the start, but in a race of 21 days there are many things that can happen, and you always have time to change the target to go for stages from breakaways," he concluded.



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