Johnny Hoogerland: “I hope for a very good season”
Dutch champion on the road in 2013 after a wonderful ride, Johnny Hoogerland changed teams last season after the demise of Vacansoleil and signed a one-year contract with Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela, for which he already raced the Gran Premio Costa degli Etruschi, where he finished 19th. Now, Johnny Hoogerland is in the Tour Méditerranéen, but the biggest goals for him this season will come in the Spring, when he’ll ride the one-day races and the Giro.
– Johnny, what made you sign with Androni for this season?
There were some difficult times. A few teams stopped and then I had to look for something new. I can’t say it’s a trend, just that some teams were lucky, while other teams weren’t. There were many World Tour riders on the street, it was very hard to get a contract. It wasn’t the time to raise any unreasonable demands and I decided I have to do this.
– The change of teams means for you a new country and a new culture. How were the first contacts with Androni?
Everything was ok. Of course, it’s a new culture, but it’s still cycling. I like the fact that I’ve found here a small family, everyone is doing things together, is more friendly, while in Holland people are more on their own. I’m very happy about everything, I’m really enjoying it.
– Are you satisfied with your training before the start of the season?
I was for three weeks in Spain and then I went home for the birth of our first child, so I didn’t train for 15 days, just from time to time. Then, in January, I began training again. I have around 7500 km of training so far, so that’s ok.
– What’s your schedule for the first months?
Now I’ll do Tour Méditerranéen, and then I’ll go to Trofeo Laigueglia, followed by the Classic Sud Ardèche and Drôme Classic. Afterwards, I’ll come back to Italy for Gran Premio Città di Camaiore, Strade Bianche, and Roma Maxima. After Roma, I have ten days without any races, so I’ll just train for Gran Premio Nobili and Milan-Sanremo.
– With what thoughts will you start the Tour Méditerranéen?
The condition is ok, I can and I want to do a good race, because it’s important to show that I have some form so early in the season. If things will go better and better, I will probably try something on Mont Faron.
– Do you hope to be at the start of the Giro?
Of course! If I have the condition and things will go as planned, I’ll be there. But you never know what can happen in the next weeks.
– What will be your goals for this year?
I just want a very good season. When riding for a Pro Continental team, all races are important, especially the ones from Italy, because those bring points for the Coppa d’Italia, which can secure us a Giro wild card. I want to be aggressive and have a strong showing in all races, it doesn’t matter if it’s Strade Bianche or the Giro.
– Is there any race in particular you would like to win?
There are a lot of races I dream to win, it’s very difficult to choose just one. I think there are hundreds of beautiful races, but if I would have to pick just one from this season, if I can dream of one race, then I would have to say Milan-San Remo. It’s not going to be easy, but the new parcours is in my advantage.