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Tony Gallopin: “My focus will be on the Ardennes”

Last year, Tony Gallopin was one of the best French riders of the peloton, confirming he is on the up after in 2013 he has won the Clasica San Sebastian, thanks to a great attack on the last climb of the race. A very versatile cyclist, the 26-year-old made some nice improvements during his first season with Lotto-Belisol and quickly established himself as one of the Belgian team’s captains. This led to him winning a stage in the Tour de France and wearing the yellow jersey for a day, on the 14th of July.

Now, he is ready for his fifth season in the World Tour, during which he hopes to have even more success than in 2014 and win another Classic. This was one of the topics he talked about in the following interview, that I took him a couple of days ago.

– Tony, how was 2014?

It was a very nice season, with the Tour de France stage win and the yellow jersey as highlights, all that happened there was fantastic. I’m very happy for the way things went in the race, but not so happy for the start of the season, when I wasn’t so lucky. I was in good shape for the Flemish Classics, but not lucky, while in the Ardennes truth is that I wasn’t at my very best. The final part of the season was much better and I’m really satisfied with my results in Canada.

– What made you focus this season on the Ardennes Classics, and not on Flanders?

In 2014, the Flemish races where my top goal, but when I got at the start of the Ardennes Classics, my legs weren’t so good. This made me think it’s better to change my program, focus on the Ardennes and do another race before, so that I will be more skinny. This season will give me some important clues for the future and will show me if I should continue on this path or make another change.

– Will you focus on all three Ardennes Classics?

I’m not sure I’ll ride Flèche Wallonne, so Amstel Gold Race and Liège–Bastogne–Liège will be the most important one-day races this year, races in which I want to be very competitive. That’s why I want to lose some weight and to arrive really fresh at the start of that week.

– In what races you will go before the Classics?

I’ll start in the Grand Prix La Marseillaise, continue with Etoile de Bessèges, Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice. Then I will go in Milan-Sanremo, but afterwards I’ll do only the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. It will be my first time there and I’m really happy to try something new. Next will be Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold Race and Liège–Bastogne–Liège.

– Will you focus also on the GC this season?

Maybe I will try again in Paris-Nice, like last year, but that depends on the course. Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Criterium du Dauphiné are too tough for me.

– What do you think of the Tour de France parcours?

For me, it looks a little bit like the one in 2014. I’ll go there with the same goal as last year, to try and win a stage, most likely from a breakaway. In the flat stages, I will work for André Greipel.

– Are the World Championships on your agenda?

It looks like the course is a good one, that suits me. The Worlds will be an important target for me at the end of the season, so I’m thinking about coming into shape for September, which means that I’ll do the Canada races or the Tour of Britain. I like the races in Canada, but from that moment there are three weeks until Richmond, so nothing is decided yet. Anyway, a start in the Vuelta is very unlikely.

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