While Dani Moreno (Katusha) begins his preparation for the 2014 season with a lengthy block of training in Argentina, his wife's home country, the 32-year-old Spaniard reflected on the 2013 season and stated his goals for next year. Highlights from the recently concluded season include a trio of high-profile victories, Fleche Wallonne and two Vuelta a Espana stage wins, plus a stint in the leader's jersey at the Spanish Grand Tour.
"Although I got fewer wins this year than other seasons, the truth is I think it was my best," said Moreno. "The victory at Fleche Wallonne was a great thing for me and the two stages at the Vuelta a Espana were a dream. But I also remember with great satisfaction last season, with seven wins, which are both many and difficult to get."
Moreno has made steady progress throughout his nine years in the pro peloton and he believes there's still more improvement to come.
"Every year I go up a step and this coming year has to be a little more. For next season I'll have two main objectives: the Ardennes Classics and the Vuelta a Espana, which is my favourite race."
Moreno has contested the Vuelta seven times thus far in his career and after placing 36th in his Vuelta debut in 2006, over the next six editions he's finished no worse than 12th overall. His best GC result in his home Grand Tour was 5th in 2012, and he's also cracked the top-10 in 2011 and 2013.
In addition to his victory in 2013 at Fleche Wallonne, Moreno has also finished 8th at the Ardennes Classic. There's room to improve in the races that bookend the Ardennes week, Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where his best career results are 13th and 14th respectively.
While Moreno has been a key lieutenant for Katusha teammate Joaquim Rodriguez, he believes there's still plenty of opportunity available for himself to secure top results.
"Not that I don't have my own ambitions, but I'm really happy with my role as lieutenant. We make a nice duo and we complement each other well. He achieved great victories and I can also get mine. And we both know it."
After traveling in the United States and Mexico as a post-season vacation, it's time to commence work for the 2014 season which kicks off for Moreno at Argentina's Tour de San Luis in late January.
"October and November have been a time of rest and visiting family," said Moreno. "Now in December and January, taking advantage of the good weather here [in Argentina], I'll train more seriously. After contesting the Tour de San Luis I'll travel back to Spain with my teammates."