“The two long time trials are surely advantageous for Cadel, and as defending champion, he will be one of the top favourites anyway,” Burghardt told Radsport-News.com. “But with 3500 kilometers, you never know what might happened. Anything can happen suddenly, as we saw this year with Contador.
“You need a team which stands together behind you. We had that this year.”
In addition to his helper duties, Burghardt is a Classics specialist, who won Gent-Wevelgem in 2007. This year he didn't have the form to do well in those races, so he was satisfied with being a domestique.
But for the coming year he sees good chances for himself in the Spring Classics, although he knows the presence of Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd might reduce him to the helper role again.
“That can happen. But on the other hand, with those two we have better chances to ride offensively and play more options. With Gilbert and Hushovd we can react differently and perhaps that will increase my chances. I just have to attack early enough. ... I look at this development positively.”
BMC will have an exceptionally strong team for the Classics, but Burghardt knows that is no guarantee for success. “We were the strongest team at this year's Tour of Flanders, with an unbelievably good team. But we didn't win, instead it was Nick Nuyens, who earlier in the race had fallen back. The strongest team on paper or strongest rider doesn't always win.”
Looking to 2012 and those very Classics, the German said that “The Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem will be my season highlights.” He will open with the Tour Down Under, the Mallorca Challenge, Tour of the Algarve and Paris-Nice. “Those are all hard races and I will get the needed race kilometers.”
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