After capturing 11 victories in his first season as a professional, Andrea Guardini (Farnese-Selle Italia) is looking to continue his progress in 2012 by improving on his climbing.
The 22-year-old sprinter gave ample demonstration of his devastating speed in the finishing straight throughout 2011, but struggled at times when the road went uphill, including when he was one of a number of riders eliminated on the opening stage of the Settimana Lombarda in September.
“I was born a sprinter and I know that I have to improve in the climbs, but it’s not an obsession,” Guardini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ve already started doing it, and riding hard races like the Tour of Austria and the Tour of Portugal last year was very useful.”
Understandably for an Italian fast man, Guardini’s long-term aim is Milan-San Remo, but he acknowledged that he is still a couple of years shy of being able to contend for victory on the Lungomare Italo Calvino.
“One step at a time: this year, I couldn’t aim to win San Remo yet, a race that you don’t just muddle through,” Guardini said. Under the guidance of Luca Scinto, however, the man from Colognola ai Colli near Verona has made considerable strides in improving his endurance.
“Two years ago, even racing 200km was a problem for me, but it’s now much less so,” he said. “I trust in Luca Scinto, who follows my preparation and who I consider to be the most charismatic of the Italian directeurs sportifs.”
Farnese-Selle Italia are among the candidates for the Giro d’Italia’s four wildcard invitations, which are due to be announced on January 10. After Scinto opted to withhold his protégé from the corsa rosa last year, Guardini is enthusiastic about the possibility of taking on world champion Mark Cavendish in May.
“It certainly won’t be easy, but I’m working in order to beat him,” he said. “It’s like I’m still in dream. Up to now, I’ve been going well, so why should I stop?”