Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) has questioned the strength of the Luxembourg Cycling Project’s for the Classics, suggesting that the biggest rivals to his new team in 2011 will be Katusha and BMC.
The world champion acknowledged that Fabian Cancellara will be the man to watch on the cobbles once again but he feels that other squads have more options when it comes to team tactics and so better chance of victory.
“I believe both BMC and Katusha will be strong next season,” Hushovd told procycling.no. “Filippo Pozzato has been joined by Leif Hoste on the Katusha team. They’re two riders who are often up there in the top five in both Paris-Roubaix and Flanders.”
Hushovd admitted that Cancellara may not need much team support to repeat his classics success of 2010 but he maintains that the strength of the newly-formed Luxembourg-based squad may have been overstated.
“Luxembourg is an exciting team with good individual riders,” he said. “Cancellara as a rider is always dangerous; he knows how to do these races. If he ends up alone in the group of favourites, he can just follow us and watch who still has a couple of men with him. Having another rider can help, but it’s still down to the leader. When Norway can win the Worlds, it shows you what you can do with one rider in the finale."
“I’m wary of Cancellara but not of the Luxembourg Cycling Project. They are ranked as the world’s best team and they are a good team, but if I have to choose who will be the strongest in the classics, I still think it’s Katusha and BMC.”
Hushovd is fresh from his first training camp with his new Garmin-Cervélo squad in the Cayman Islands and he was impressed with what he has seen so far.
“This is a bigger and a better team [than Cervélo TestTeam],” he said. “Our depth gives us good opportunities in the classics and in the sprints. That is where I think we have the best chance to assert ourselves as a team.”
Given the strength at the team’s disposal after the merging of Garmin-Transitions’ and Cervélo’s classics squads, Hushovd admitted that selecting eight riders for each of the classics might prove to be a headache.
“I think the important thing is to get the right mix of riders. We need ones who will do a good job for the whole team,” he said. “It helps to have six men who can all be top 10 in either Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. We need someone with a nose for the right breaks, we need someone who can do a job along the way and we need someone with a finish to make it possible to win the race.”
Hushovd will now train on the Canary Islands before returning to Norway for Christmas. In January he will partake in two Spanish training camps with Garmin-Cervélo before beginning his season at the Tour of Oman in February.
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Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.
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