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"I hope to get a good start and not have to sit with an ice pack on my head in the near future," said Vansummeren."And I want to stay a little more on my bike than last year. It can hardly be worse."

Photo: Sirotti

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09.02.2016 @ 15:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sporza has travelled to Qatar to discuss the new cycling season with Johan Vansummeren and promising sprinter. "I want to move on to the World Tour," the latter says.

 

The cycling season is coming so slowly underway. This week the Tour of Qatar takes place for the 15th time and Amaury Capiot and Johan Vansummeren are both present.

 

 

What are the ambitions of the latter in this race? "I hope to get a good start and not have to sit with an ice pack on my head in the near future," said Vansummeren."And I want to stay a little more on my bike than last year. It can hardly be worse."

 

Vansummeren saw last season getting destroyed by several crashes, also in the Tour. Is he still ambitious? "Yes, I'm positive. I have ambitions and work out every day. It's not that I ride around here against my liking. But last year was difficult."

 

The biggest win of his career was undoubtedly Paris-Roubaix in 2011. Does the 35-year-old target the podium? "That should be possible, especially in Roubaix. Maybe even in the Tour of Flanders, but the explosiveness makes it more difficult."

 

Does that mean Vansummeren is automatically leader is his team, AG2R? "We have several talents in the squad, Alexis Gougeard for example. I can actually do what I want but I'm never going to ask them to be the only leader and put seven riders around me because I know it's not easy to win. But I want also want to lead the young talents."

 

 

Vansummeren has defended the colors of AG2R since last year. "Well, I have to speak French, otherwise ir would difficult. But there's a family atmosphere, I'm good here. We use the best equipment and the best training programs.

 

"I hope to stay here for another two years and then we'll see yet, but I would still like to ride for another two years. Look where we are now: 25 degrees in the sun," he concludes.

 

 

His compatriot Amaury Capiot begins his second year as a pro. Does it feels like the first day of school for the young rider? "Oh yes, it's exciting. You only know how you've trained in the winter, but not how it will be compared to the others. You'll have to wait and see.

 

"I know I've trained well. But on the way I got sick while I travelled here. It's better now, hopefully I'll be well here and the I can rebuild."

 

Last year Capiot got nice results as a neo-pro. "I am satisfied, especially with the second half of that season. But it should be better if I want to move on to the World Tour which is surely my ambition.

 

"When I arrived at Topsport Vlaanderen, I said 'give me two or three years,' but as last season went so well that I have adjusted my ambitions. Whether it's this year or next year does not mean very very much. But it has to happen."

 

In what races does Capiot see himself doing well? "I'm fast. But the race has to be  harder so that the pure sprinters are no longer there. Specific races could be something like Paris-Bruxelles. I also hope to focus on the classics."

 

The 22-year-old Capiot is of course often compared with his father John, who won the Brabantse Pijl three times. " I can live with that. But I'm here to build my own career.

 

"In recent years, I realized how fortunate we are as riders," said Capiot. "But you've got to keep working hard.

 

"It's not just the travel, but also work hard in the winter, in rain, wind and cold. You also have to get up at 8 am at home and work out to be here now."

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