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Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky)
Spaniard bullish about Team Sky's early season targets
Spanish rider Juan Antonio Flecha is predicting big things for Team Sky next year, starting off with the Classics in the spring. Speaking at Team Sky's training camp in Mallorca, Flecha said that the team is stronger than ever now and well capable of building on the success they achieved last season.
“For me there is always a focus on the Spring Classics," the 34-year-old told Team Sky's website.
“For the first part of the season they are my main goals. Later will come the Tour de France and I hope to make the team for the Tour. There are also some big races after the Tour but these are the long-term goals. Right now I need to be thinking about my first goal and that is most definitely the Classics.”
Team Sky has been busy in the offseason, strengthening their squad with a series of signings and also securing the long term future of some of their riders by rewarding them with new contracts. This blend of both refreshment and consolidation has put Team Sky in a very good position going into the new season and Flecha is confident that they can match up to the very best in the world beginning in the spring.
“The team is getting better and better in the Classics," he said. "There are some new guys coming in like Bernhard Eisel, but if you look at young guys like [Ian] Stannard and G [Geraint Thomas] they are getting better and better too. Helping these guys is a big part of my role. You always try to teach the young riders; whether it is things that I know, little secrets or bits of advice. I think for them it’s also nice to have guys with experience in the team so they can go to races and have someone there who has done it before and it can give them confidence.
“In 2011 we’ve made a huge improvement. I wasn’t expecting that. In the first season of the team [Team Principal] Dave Brailsford said ‘we are going to learn, we’re going to do better’ but at the end of two years the results were a surprise for many of us. Not because we under-estimated ourselves - normally the process of improvements is slower, but this time it was really big!
“Now it’s going to be our third season. Everything is better settled, the team is more organised and everything moves quicker and more efficiently. It feels like now it is really rolling. In the training camp everyone is looking really motivated and I am excited to see how we can get on.”