After a disappointing 2011 season due to illness, Pierrick Fédrigo is excited to be back on track ahead of the upcoming European season. The Frenchman, who was out with Lyme disease for much of last year, is confident that the setback has made him mentally stronger and that the form he is currently building up will pay off in competition.
"I'm very excited to race and I really want to win again," Fédrigo told L'Equipe. "Last season showed me that you also have to go through diffucult periods in order to grow and step up. I felt that I was below par and that I wouldn't win. Perhaps I needed [the illness] to get out of my routine. Before, I didn't dare to attack and I regretted it afterwards. Now, I want to go for it and not look at the other riders anymore."
The FDJ-BigMat rider was satisfied with his winter preparation, saying he has physically progressed. At 33 years of age, Fédrigo feels he is at the peak of his career.
"I haven't changed my habits, I started on December 1 with a fixed wheel," he said of his training. "This is my 13th season and I need to restart on the same basis every year. I picked relatively flat routes to build up a base and build up the workload. That way, I progressed slowly but constantly. I put the big ring back on two weeks ago to work on my power. I feel I've progressed."
The three-time Tour de France stage winner will have a very French programme this season, even if his FDJ-BigMat team is back in the World Tour ranks. "I prefer to ride in France, we have very nice races. My first competitions will be the Etoile de Bessèges, the Tour du Haut-Var, Loire-Atlantique Cholet, Paris-Nice and Critérium International. Having won the latter one in 2010, it remains an objective as it's always pleasant to win a race like that one."
Fédrigo is eager to race again and wants to be in the mix as soon as his first competition. "I want to be ready right away, so that I don't go chasing my form and lose time. I already lost a lot of time in 2011. It's easier to manage when you're ready right away, mentally you're more relaxed. I want to be a factor and operational from the beginning. I want to attack and put my mark on the race, make myself hurt and especially make the others hurt!"