Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team took a few minutes to speak to Sylvain Chavanel prior to the start of Paris-Nice on Sunday, March 3rd.
Hey Sylvain how do you feel?
Going into Paris-Nice I am calm and in a good mood. The feelings are there. I just hope I do not get sick, because last year I was sick all week and I still managed to finish eighth overall. So I'll try to do as well, or better, in 2013. Paris-Nice starts a truly classic period for me. It is a stage race of seven days where you are in the saddle five hours per day. This important period goes from the classics to Paris-Roubaix (April 7). So I must maintain the highest form as long as possible. Peak shape, it is very hard to keep it long, so I try to be a little below my peak in order to keep it a little more durable.
What is your goal for this year at Paris-Nice?
The objective is to be the best I can possibly be. A place overall and a stage win would be nice. This is what I managed to do a few years ago, so I hope to do almost the same thing. I am one of the headliners of the team in this race. I want to be an actor in Paris-Nice and let my legs speak for me.
You also have a team that can be offensive on all fronts ...
For the team, the goal is to win stages. After all, you have two cards to play in the overall standings: Peter Velits and myself. We will try to do well and it is true that we are a complete team that can be competitive. The course of this edition is not very difficult compared to previous years. There are Paris-Nice stages where there will be borders, and where there is no great difficulty. When you look, it starts with a prologue of a little less than 3km, so it is very short. Then there is the Col d'Eze course, but that is 9km so it is not insurmountable, and there is a arrival at the summit, which is the Lure mountain, and that is not one of the biggest passes that we know. So I think it is a journey that can suit me.
Which riders could claim the overall?
Well, I see only one rider as the ultra favorite. That rider is Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team). The Tour de San Luis, he has already demonstrated that he is very, very strong by finishing second. But then you should not close the door to other riders. As this is not a course that is super difficult, the race may be open to a lot of competitors.
Good luck Sylvain
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