Tour de France also possibility for Astana sprinter
Andrea Guardini is hoping to make his Milan-San Remo debut in 2013 after swapping Farnese Vini-Selle Italia for Astana. Held back from La Classicissima during his first two professional seasons by erstwhile manager Luca Scinto, Guardini is already pencilled in for Astana’s line-up next March but insisted that he would go there primarily to learn the ropes.
“I should be there and I hope that I am,” Guardini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “It would be my first race in Italy in the Astana jersey. I don’t know what I will be able to do there, but it’s right that I start knuckling down to it. It took Cipollini fourteen years to win it.”
The 23-year-old Guardini insisted that he did not leave Scinto’s stable for financial reasons but rather for the higher-level racing programme offered by a WorldTour team. “If it was just for my money, I would have stayed at Farnese, but [Giuseppe] Martinelli convinced me to change and to test myself in other races.”
In spite of his tender years, Guardini will have some leadership responsibilities from the beginning of the season at the Tour Down Under, while Jacopo Guarnieri looks set to be charged with serving as his dedicated lead-out man in the early part of the campaign.
“I’ll have some space from the first races and I have to get around to understanding that they believe in me a lot,” Guardini said. “I have to win to show that I’m up there and to earn the support of my teammates.”
A stage winner at Vedelago during the 2012 Giro d’Italia after being, by his own admission, “the weakest rider in the mountains,” Guardini may forgo the corsa rosa next season. With his fellow new arrival Vincenzo Nibali targeting Giro victory, Guardini could instead line up at the Tour de France for the first time, with designs on the race’s opening yellow jersey in Corsica.
“Up until a short time ago, the Tour seemed so far off that I couldn’t even dream of it,” Guardini said. “In 2012, I realised two dreams – participating in the Giro and winning a stage. There are a lot of stages before the Tour, but you go a long way with short steps.”