Sylvain Chavanel: ”I want to win a mythical race before retiring”
IAM Cycling is the fourth team of Sylvain Chavanel’s career and will mark a new start for the 34 year-old, who wants to get as many wins as he can for the Swiss team. A couple of days before the first race in which he will take part this season – Grand Prix La Marseillaise – the French ITT champion made some time for an interview in which he talked about the new challenge that lies ahead, the races he will target in 2014, and the goals he has for the years to come.
– Sylvain, what made you sign with IAM Cycling?
I chose IAM Cycling because it was a fresh project, representing the new cycling, and when I talked with Mister Michel Thétaz, the founder of the team, I could see there was a new direction, that I liked. This is a new challenge for me and I’m happy to bring my experience here. My transfer to IAM Cycling it’s a move that comes in the continuity of my career, but it’s also a way for me to go back to races I haven’t been in a long time.
– How are things after the first months with IAM Cycling?
I had no problems integrating into the team, because IAM it’s pretty much like a family. There is a right mix between Swiss riders and foreign riders, between experienced riders and young ones, and this is very important. The fact that our sponsor is the general manager also makes for a pretty short decision line and that makes the team little bit different.
– What is your schedule for the first half of the season?
First of all, I will start in France, with the Grand Prix La Marseillaise, followed by Paris-Nice. Afterwards, I will do the Cobbled Classics. I would like to race also Amstel Gold Race, but we have to wait and see if we’ll get a wild card. It’s a schedule that I’m used to, without some of the World Tour races that I had to do when riding for other teams. As I’m part of a new structure, this suits me very well. Depending on the conclusions of the training camp, I will talk to my sports director and choose the races I’ll do.
– And what will be your goals?
My objective is always to win, and this is what I want to do for IAM Cycling. I’m not starting a race thinking of finishing 2nd or 3rd.
– As you’ll line-up for the Tour of Flanders, what’s your opinion on the new course?
It’s an important change, after the one in 2012. I believe every new change makes a race more difficult, and this will be the case now. The organizers want to have a more explosive and a more open race after what happened in the last two years. Cycling is evolving and we have to bring in some new elements, and changing the route is part of these elements.
– Where do you think you can get a better result, in the Tour of Flanders or in Paris-Roubaix?
I really love both races, but I have to say that Flanders suits me better, because it’s hilly and my type of attacks can bring something. I was very unlucky in Roubaix over the past years and one of my goals now is to get a really good result there.
– How strong would you say is the Classics team of IAM?
The roster is very solid and I’m sure that the combination of Heinrich Haussler and I will be very interesting to watch. More than that, the group that will support us is very strong, with Kristof Goddaert and Kevin Ista, and I really have faith in all these guys. One of the elements that will probably make the difference will be the spirit within the team and I can say the morale is already very high for the Classics campaign.
– You won Tour de France stages, one-day races, and short stage races. What’s your biggest objective, what would you like to win before retiring?
I’m working hard to get into this club of great Classics winners. I want to add to my CV one of the mythical one-day races of the calendar. I was very close a couple of times, I didn’t get a win, and that’s what I’m looking for. I enjoy races like the ones in Belgium they are selective and when I’m racing there I always want to give fans some entertainment. That’s another reason why I came to IAM Cycling, because the team has a new approach and a new spirit, which is good for cycling.