Fredrik Kessiakoff was the surprise winner of the Vuelta a España’s hilly time trial, in 2012. He has been riding the Giro in support of his team-mate Vincenzo Nibali, but the Swedish rider is still hoping for some of his own success on Stage 18. Kessiakoff talks to Cyclingnews HD about the crucial time trial.
CN HD: Will the uphill time trial, on stage 18, be good for you?
Kessiakoff: “I think it could be good for me. The stage the day after is going to make it much harder. If you’re a GC rider then you’re going to have to go all in. Then you have a really hard stage the day after where you’ll have to do the same. It’s going to very interesting. If I’m feeling well, then I’ll definitely go 100%. When I come to a time trial I don’t think too much, I just go in and do the best I can. On a good day it would not be too bad for me.”
CN HD: Will you be thinking at all about the next day?
Kessiakoff: “To be honest, I need to see how I am when I get there. Compared to the Vuelta, it comes a lot later in the race. I’m expecting to be a lot more fatigued. In the Vuelta I had a freer role. I didn’t have to work like I have to at the Giro. I might have to decide to not go all in. At the moment, I will have a go and I’ll be relaxed about it and see how it goes. It looks to me like it’s going to be an honest race. There’s no hiding, it’s not about who’s been in the aero tunnel the most. There will be no time for recovery here, it’s all about power for the whole time.”
CN HD: What sort of bike will be best suited to this?
Kessiakoff: “Without having seen the course I think the absolute best would be to use a lighter version of a time trial bike. With the lightest possible wheels, possibly still a disk wheel. It’s time to trim down your bike, because it will matter. From what I heard, there are parts where you can go fast. That’s where you need s time trial bike, where you can tuck in and go really fast. Then again, it might be that I put aero extensions on my road bike. A light bike is crucial.”
CN HD: There are some sections that reach 10%, how difficult is it to time trial at that gradient?
Kessiakoff: “It’s really different, it’s not classic time trialling. I remember, at the Vuelta last year on the main climb, sitting on the tip of the saddle and not thinking about aero at all. You just had to maintain your speed and get as much power into the pedals as possible. You’re in time trial mode, but you’re not in a time trial position at all. It’s a mix.”
CN HD: How much do you think this stage and the following day will shape the general classification?
Kessiakoff: “It will really shake things up. The day after people will be watching to see if the others crack, because that is a day for people to crack. If you don’t have good legs from the start then there is no hiding, if you don’t have it here then you will be dropped from the gun.”
CN HD: Who will you be looking out for at the time trial?
Kessiakoff: “I think the GC guys. If you look at the Vuelta, last year, the guys behind me were pretty much all GC guys. The pure climbers normally aren’t very good time trialling. The GC guys are so prepared to suffer each day. There might be an outsider, like myself, that might be able to do something.”
Cycling News HD
This interview was featured in Issue 55 of Cyclingnews HD, which is still available to download. For a full preview of the crucial up hill time trial and Friday’s Queen Stage, download this week’s issue of Cycling News HD. Issue 56 has all of the latest from the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of California. We take a look forward at the Final stages of the season’s first Grand Tour. We also talk to Sky Coach, Rod Ellingworth, about the team’s ambitions for the rest of 2013. All of this with stunning photography and in-depth analysis.
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