Giro d'Italia podium finisher John Gadret may have ended the Critérium International ten minutes adrift of the winner, Cadel Evans of BMC, but the AG2R La Mondiale climber assured that his form is "on schedule" for this year's Grand Tour in May.
Gadret was set back in his preparation a few weeks ago as he suffered a dental infection following wisdom teeth surgery, and came back to competition one week later than expected. "Actually, I didn't feel like I was one week late," he told La Voix des Sports. "I knew it was going to be tough. But my result this week-end doesn't reflect my capacities, it is just the result of a lack of competition. My peak is planned for the Giro."
The Frenchman's next race will be the GP Indurain in Spain, followed by the Volta a Pais Vasco, the Giro del Trentino and the Tour de Romandie. "I will still suffer a lot before getting the right pedalling rhythm again. But the climb to l'Ospedale [the last stage of Critérium International - ed.] made me feel confident. I'm on schedule."
Gadret hoped for a race of attrition at the Giro. "Last year it was really very hard, but I will never complain about that! At least, the strong men are in front. I like it when it's difficult and when it boils down to physical capacity," he commented to Velochrono, and admitted that the absence of Alberto Contador this year and Vincenzo Nibali's probable focus on the Tour de France made another podium finish possible.
"What I did last year was very good. I hope to do the same again this year, or better! And I think that Hubert Dupont [who finished 11th last year - ed.] will be there, too. It's always good to have two guys like that on a Grand Tour. I will be leader, [team manager] Vincent Lavenu told me very clearly, but anything can happen: if I mess up, I'll put myself at Hubert's service."
Team cohesion being an important value at AG2R, five of Gadret's teammates finished in the top 12 of the Critérium International, but AG2R still has to score a first 2012 victory. Of all the World Tour teams, the French squad is the only one who hasn't yet opened its counter.
"The team is riding well, but there's no victory yet... We have the same problem every year. I hope that things will lift off soon, because the sooner we win, the sooner we will be relieved of the pressure."