After his dazzling World Championship victory in Varese last year, Alessandro Ballan has his work cut out coming up with something equally impressive for 2009. The Italian finds time in his busy schedule to tell Procycling what he has up his multi-coloured sleeves...
Alessandro Ballan carries a heavy weight throughout the 2009 season – the title of UCI World Road Champion. While many have found the rainbow coloured jersey a curse in the year after their worlds win, Ballan is hoping to leverage its credibility and his form to boost his profile throughout the year.
The Italian's initial focus for the season is next month's Paris-Roubaix. While Ballan's Grand Tour plans are yet to be formalized, Ballan plans on arriving in Roubaix velodrome alone this year, having finished third in last year's three man sprint.
Procycling: Last year was a big year for you, culminating in that win at the road race championships in Varese, Italy in September. How do you plan to follow that up in 2009?
Alessandro Ballan: My objectives for this season will be more difficult to achieve, I think. Because I'm now wearing the rainbow jersey, I'll be more heavily marked by the other teams, especially towards the end of each race. But winning the rainbow jersey has had a lot of positive effects, too. For starters, it has given me a greater awareness of my full strength and capabilities.
The first main objective on my race calendar is Paris-Roubaix. I'm hoping that, with the mental strength the win in Varese has given me, I stand a chance of winning at Roubaix.
Read the full interview.