Tony Gallopin's Spring Classics campaign gets fully into gear this weekend when he leads Lotto-Soudal’s attack at the Amstel Gold Race having sat out the cobbled Classics over the past month. However, the 27-year-old Frenchman has admitted to having some regrets at missing the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, to the point where his Belgian team have indicated that he could contest those races as their leader in future if he so desires.
Speaking to L’Equipe before he took third place in the Brabantse Pijl in the run-up to Amstel, Gallopin revealed: “I didn’t miss a single Flemish Classic on the TV. I confess that I had some regrets about not being there.”
He has, instead, been focusing on the Ardennes Classics, where he aims to be among the contenders for victory. “This is the first year that I’ve focused completely on the Ardennes races. Up to now I’ve been looking for a place in the top 10, but now I want to be up with the very best,” said Gallopin.
However, he admitted he’s not yet sure whether he has what it takes to achieve this. “I’m good in all aspects of racing, but I still lack the little extra that would allow me to be super,” the Frenchman said. “It’s because of this that I’m not yet committing myself to focusing entirely on one category of races.”
Lotto-Soudal team manager Marc Sergeant says he can understand his one-day leader’s dilemma and is ready to offer the Frenchman a route back to the cobbled Classics if he wants to take it.
“We know that Tony is capable of competing at the Tour of Flanders. It’s up to him to decide when he wants to devote himself to it completely. He won’t have any competition on our team. He will have part of the team at his service,” Sergeant confirmed to L’Équipe.
Rider and team manager agree that victory at the San Sebastián Classic in 2013 and subsequent performances at the World Championships (6th in 2014, 7th in 2015) and the Tour of Lombardy (7th in 2015) have led to Gallopin’s targeting of the Ardennes Classics, which are of a similar mould. But a future change of focus to Flanders and Paris-Roubaix might yet come.
“Tony is going go 100 per cent for the Ardennes this year. After that, we’ll leave the door open for him to decide what he wants to do,” said Sergeant.
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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