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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Patxi Vila will have a dual role in 2012
Spaniard feels blend of youth and experience could prove crucial
Having returned to cycling in 2011 after a two-and-a-half year absence, Spanish rider Patxi Vila is keen to make up for lost time as he moves into the veteran stage of his career. The 36-year-old will be racing for Irish team Utensilnord-Named, who are the successors to De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia, in the UCI Continental Tour in 2012 and has revealed that he is excited by some of the young talent in the squad. His role next year will be that of both experienced team menber and directeur sportif, as he revealed to French website Cyclism'Actu.
"I will be beginning my tenth year as a professional, so I have some experience in cycling," he said. "I will try to train young riders in our team to find their way to victory. I'm going to juggle between the role of sporting director and rider. I want to help my team the best in order to obtain good results.
The staff and the staff remains virtually the same from 2011 under De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia. John Lee Augustyn, from Sky, is one of the new riders. It should be noted also the presence of young riders with good potential such as Federico Rocchetti, Gianluca Maggiore, Matteo Fedi and Edoardo Girardi."
Vila is hoping that the team can perform well enough in the opening races of the season to invited to the Grand Tours, with the Giro d'Italia being his main hope.
"I hope with all my heart that we make the Giro," he said. "It's RCS (race organizer) who will decide whether or not we deserve to be there. We try to do better in races to prove that we deserve it. With riders like Bailetti and Augustyn we can fight over three weeks. One of our goals is to compete in the first three months to attract the attention of the organizers of the Giro to get that invitation. My desire is to be at the start of the Tirreno Adriatico and Milan San Remo. Trentino and the Tour of Poland are other good races for me and I hope to get good results."