Monday, November 21, 2011

Samu reveals tentative 2012 calendar

País Vasco, the Tour and the Olympics are in, the Classics and the Vuelta are most likely not. That's the latest word on Samu's 2012 schedule, coming right from the team's get-together in Derio. The Olympic champion sat down with BiciCiclismo's Unai Iraragorri yesterday to discuss the coming year, and Samu is pinning it all on July.

"I'll focus on the Tour, that's for sure. But I'll be realistic: winning the Tour is probably out of my reach", he admitted. "I'll fight for 'real' targets. Winning will be almost impossible as some of my rivals are that tiny bit better. Not admitting as much would be foolish. Alberto Contador is almost unbeatable, but I might aim for a stage, the podium and the KOM jersey like I did this year. It'll be hard to repeat what we achieved last year, though".

A return to the Vuelta a España - once he's favourite stomping ground - is not likely to come anytime soon though, but he will take on the other big Vuelta: País Vasco.

"País Vasco figures in my plans, but I haven't made my mind up yet on the Ardennes Classics. I'll probably do something like 20-30 racing days prior to the Tour, but as of yet I'm not really sure where or when I'll start the season. Paris-Nice is a tough race; if I go there I'll have to be in decent shape. What I'm sure of though is that we'll have to plan the season to perfection in order to start the Tour in optimal shape."

As the defending champion, the London Olympics is of course another big objective next summer. The course is rumoured to suit the likes of Cavendish and Sagan more than climbers like himself, but the Euskaltel captain is holding out hope the parcours will get rid of the speed-merchants and open the door to someone like him.

"The course has been talked about a lot already. Granted, if the route is indeed flat, it might be to Cavendish's liking. But I believe every one-day race above 200 kilometres, and especially this one with those demanding final nine laps, will be hard. I spoke with (national coach) José Luís De Santos, and he told me it'll be a tough race with favourable conditions for us Spaniards: not much rain, and not excessive heat. How I'll do depends on the Tour. But if everything goes to plan I'll be in London."

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