Iglinskiy targets the Tour of Flanders

Kazakh Maxim Iglinsky smiles for the camera

Kazakh Maxim Iglinsky smiles for the camera (Image credit: AFP)

Maxim Iglinskiy will target the Tour of Flanders in the first part of the season and will be team leader for the Astana team at the cobbled Classics along with Allan Davis. 

"I will be team leader for the Flandrian races. I will prepare well for them in order to get results there," the 29-year-old Iglinskiy told Cyclingnews last week at the team's official presentation.

Iglinsky is a powerful rider - strong on the climbs and versatile on a hilly parcours. Winner of a mountain stage in the 2007 Dauphiné, he confirmed his capacities in 2008 by scoring the best climber's jersey at the Tour de Suisse. In 2009 he shifted his attention more to the Classics. He finished third in the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen and broke through one year later, winning the Monte Paschi Strade Bianche. He also finished seventh in Gent-Wevelgem, eighth in Milan-Sanremo and eighth again in the Tour of Flanders.

The Kazakh confirmed that it was his team captain, Alexander Vinokourov, who encouraged him to explore success in the Classics. "Yes, Vinokourov told me I could do well in the one-day races, so I followed his advice," said Iglinskiy, who will be racing in a support role for his team leader in the Ardennes Classics of Amstel Gold Race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne.

"I think I can become a great Classics rider like Vinokourov," he continued. "Races like Gent-Wevelgem or Flanders suit me well. I want to win one of them this spring. I also want a victory in Tirreno-Adriatico."

In 2010, Iglinskiy finished fourth overall in the week-long race but failed to score a stage win. Before heading to Belgium at the end of March, he will also ride Milano-San Remo, an event where teammate Allan Davis hopes to win.

The Australian and the Kazakh make up a strong duo for the 'Classicissima' and the subsequent Flemish Classics and will be able to cover many different race scenarios for Astana. "Max is an opportunistic rider in the Classics, looking for breakaways, while I sort of sit back and wait if it comes down to a small group sprint," Davis told Cyclingnews when asked about their interaction in these races.

"Our styles work well together, for all sort of race situations. I know I can rely on Max especially after last year, where he was always there when the hard attacks were happening. And vice versa, he feels the same."

Iglinskiy's first race of 2011 will be the Giro di Sardegna (Feb 23-27) and after Flèche Wallonne he will "take a break to recover, before some training camps to get back on track for the Dauphiné and the Tour de France."

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