Ahead of his first outing of the year, which will happen at the Challenge Mallorca, the Frenchman talked about his winter and spring goals.
“I feel good and I’m really motivated to start the season. I didn’t make of these races in Mallorca a big objective, my primary goal here is to do a good effort and see where my form is. The race on Friday, with that nice finish, suits me a bit better than the rest, but we have a strong team and we’ll go for the best result in each of these five days. I’m very excited about finally beginning my season, about doing these nice races, where I will try to do my best and build up for the spring.
As previously stated, Flanders will be one of my big goals this year. It’s a race that motivates me, a race that makes me dream. It has all that history, that tradition, everything is special about it. I enjoyed my previous appearances there, even though they didn’t end up well and I’m not as experienced as some of the guys in the team on those cobbles, but I’m looking forward to being back at the start and giving my best in April.
When I restarted training, everything went well.
In my head I feel different compared to the last seasons, I’m really eager to restart and find again my best level. Going for the win is what motivates me in training. I had a good winter, took some time for myself to recover physically and mentally, and all I want to do is enjoy again the races. I feel more relaxed now, the weight of having the rainbow jersey on my shoulders has evaporated.
Winning that jersey was my dream, and winning it twice is the highlight of my career. Not having it anymore will give me back a bit of the freedom that I had before becoming World Champion. The motivation and desire to win races are still there, it’s only this pressure brought by the jersey that has disappeared. But I want to be clear: the jersey also helped me in difficult times and reminded me of what I achieved. It helped even during the wintertime to properly hit the reset button and prepare for the new season.”
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