After a year without riding a single grand tour Jakob Fuglsang looks set to lead Astana in the 100th edition of the Tour de France in 2013.
“Jakob will ride the Tour as team captain,” confirmed Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli in an exclusive interview with Cycling News HD. “He will also do Paris-Nice, a few of the Classics and the Dauphiné as team leader too.”
Fuglsang was set to lead RadioShack-Nissan at this year’s Giro d’Italia until a knee injury forced him out. A falling out with his team manager, Johan Bruyneel, meant that he was refused a place in WorldTour races for the remainder of the season. Nonetheless, the 27-year-old managed to enjoy a good run of form mid-season with wins at the Tours of Austria and Luxembourg. Fuglsang signed his three-year deal with Astana back in August.
Among the riders likely to be joining Fuglsang at the Tour for the first time is new teammate Enrico Gasparotto. The Amstel Gold Race winner will skip the Giro in the hopes of being in form for La Grand Boucle.
“There is the possibility, for the first time in my life, to do the Tour de France. I will go to the Tour to help Jakob do well in the overall classification and maybe win stages,” Gasparotto said. “It will be my first time at the Tour so I will be like a child on the first day of school.”
With Fuglsang set to take the lead at the Tour and Vincenzo Nibali targeting the Giro, Janez Brajkovic will be looking for alternative goals for 2013. Brajkovic was the team’s GC contender at the Tour de France this season and took a creditable ninth place.
“Jani will definitely have an important role in 2013,” says Martinelli. “We are still working together to assess his race schedule.” The Astana manager did confirm that Brajkovic will play a supporting role for Vincenzo Nibali at the Giro, in May.
As well as taking aim at the grand tours, the Kazakh squad will also look to repeat the success of this season’s Ardennes classics, where they won Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “We will line up at the Ardennes Classics with one of the teams to beat,” says Martinelli. “Perhaps there will be stronger or more in-form riders there, but we will have the entire podium from Liège–Bastogne–Liège.” In 2012, Gasparotto and Nibali followed home Maxim Iglinskiy to the podium in Liège.
Watch out for the full interviews with Giuseppe Martinelli and Enrico Gasparotto in a future issue of Cycling News HD.
This week’s issue takes a look back at the Olympics in London, including in-depth analysis and stunning photography from all of the road and track events. Marianne Vos talks about her win in the road race and Rabobank leaving the sport. Time trial bronze medallist Chris Froome returns to talk about his debut games on home soil and his ambitions for 2013. Olympic track champion Peter Kennaugh discusses returning to the road and being recognised in the street. The Manxman also ponders the possibility of being joined by his compatriot Mark Cavendish for Rio.
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