Belgian rider Nick Nuyens, who switched from Quick.Step for Cofidis this winter, has already proved his leadership competence at the first French stage race Etoile de Bessèges by taking a stage and finally winning the overall event. The change of teams was very much influenced by Nuyens wanting to be a team leader in spring, which was not possible at his previous squad due to the presence of Tom Boonen, a confirmed Classics specialist. At Cofidis, however, Nuyens is confident he will be able to peak at the right moment and be a serious threat to his former teammate.
"To become the leader of a great team and to have my teammates at my service has always been a great motivation for me," the 29 year-old told L'Equipe. "To win here [Etoile de Bessèges] was also a way for me to make known that I can keep this rank as a leader and that people can be confident in me to win races."
With the Belgian Classics season only one month away, Nuyens now wants to fine-tune his form to challenge the favourites. "I want to be amongst the best during the Classics campaign," he continued. "I don't know yet if it'll be enough to win, especially since we'll have to count on guys like Boonen and Bettini again this season, but I want to try and get on the same level as they are."
Eager to be a major contender as soon as Het Volk on March 3 ("I want to be a contender right from the start"), Nuyens feels that he can still progress, also in view of the years to come. "I'm convinced that I haven't reached my maximum yet," he added. "Every winter, I feel stronger and stronger. I have a margin compared to other riders. I'm 27 years old, and if some riders reach their maximum form around 30 years, I tell myself that I'll be able to go beyond that. I think I have a few beautiful years ahead of me."