Admired for his combativity, Juan Antonio Flecha is one of the first names that springs to mind when listing the Classics specialists. This non-typical pavé-craving Spaniard – born in Junin, Argentina – is eager to end his victory drought. Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez caught up the 30 year-old while he was in his hometown Castelldefels following the first round of spring races.
Flecha was second in the 2007 Paris-Roubaix, finishing behind Stuart O'Grady and showing he can produce great performances in spring Classics like the Hell of the North. He is aiming for revenge on France's harsh tracks this April 13.
"I started racing at the Majorca Tour, Vuelta a Andalucía and Paris-Nice," he began, describing his first months of racing. "I also did Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. The sensations were pretty good, especially in Vuelta a Andalucía. I did a good race, I had a lot confidence for Het Volk, but I was sick that week and the truth is that I did very badly in Het Volk. I wasn't feeling right. In Kuurne I was up at the front, but I wasn't totally recovered yet. It wasn't exactly disappointing because I knew the reason; I knew I had a good condition, but having a sore throat added to add to the cold really hurt my possibilities.
"Then came Paris-Nice" – Flecha continued in an upbeat tone – "and I was truly happy with my performance. We had to work a lot for Robert Gesink, which did not allow me to shine at all. There were a couple of stages when I had hoped to do well. But I had to work [for the team leader] and my goals in the season are yet to come."
His main targets are the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix. "In terms of personal sensations, I am pretty satisfied about how I am, about how I felt at those races. Indeed, I would liked to be able to say that I have already achieved a good result – to gain confidence and to go into the coming races calmer... The days I had to work for the team; I consider they went well, and that gives me confidence," stated Flecha.
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