Even though France will be represented at the World Championships road race with only six riders instead of nine, Sylvain Chavanel is well motivated for the event taking place in Mendrisio, Switzerland, later this month.
Chavanel is one of the leaders of the French "sélection", hand-picked by former pro and current national coach Laurent Jalabert. Together with Pierrick Fédrigo and Thomas Voeckler, the Quick Step rider will be aiming at the top honours on a difficult circuit in the Swiss Alps.
"I'm working well, and I'm still motivated," he told Cyclingnews on Friday. "It's the end of the season, and the tanks are almost empty, but I'm motivated."
The 30-year-old firmly believes that his team has all its chances in the Worlds against such nine-man squads as Italy or Spain. "I think we have a good team. Between Fédrigo, Voeckler and myself, we have three riders that are capable of doing something. The most important thing is to be motivated, and I think this team is."
Chavanel will be travelling to Switzerland on Saturday, September 19, and thus have plenty of time to check out the course prior to the decisive day. "We'll see, it will be a surprise," he said when asked about the circuit's characteristics. "It will be difficult. The amount of climbing [4655m - ed.] appears enormous. But then again, there are more than 260 kilometres, so it's normal that it adds up.
"You need to be a climber as well as a puncher for this circuit," Chavanel believes. "I will try to do the same as last year: wait. At the same time, I will have to vigilant as a break can happen sooner than expected, like last year, when all the favourites were deceived. With four laps to go, we will start looking for the race lead."
The Frenchman, in accordance with his trade team, has changed his racing programme prior to the Worlds in comparison to the last two years. Instead of racing the Vuelta, he chose to compete at the Eneco Tour [where he finished second overall - ed.], slot in a training camp in Spain and alternate demanding training rides with a couple of Northern one-day races, Paris-Brussels this week-end, the GP de Wallonie next Wednesday.
"Maybe this will suit me better," he said. "In 2007, I wasn't too good, and last year, I finished tenth in the time trial, and I got locked in with the favourites in the road race."