Andrey, the first question is quite traditional. Today the Vuelta starts, how do you feel before the race?
- I think I feel quite good. I recovered really well after the Giro d’Italia, did two good races, the Tour of Austria and the Tour de Pologne and spent a very productive training camp on altitude. So, looks like I am ready for the Vuelta a España.
This is your second Grand tour this season. What do you think, does the preparation for the Vuelta differs from, for example, the Giro d’Italia in the first part of the season? Is it hard to reach two peaks during one year?
- If we talk about this year, I did not do any special training for the Vuelta, I came to this start through the racing program and a training camp in Livigno. In previous years, I was doing two Grand tours all the time, basically it was a bunch of Giro-Vuelta and only last year it was Giro-Tour. It is difficult to accurately assess your peak form, but in my opinion, when you are all right, feel good and nothing is worrying you during the race – this is your peak. During the race, you just try to do your job for 100%, give your all and only in the final, when you are left empty without energy, you realize that all this time was in good form, which allowed you to do your job in the best way. Of course, when you are preparing for the Grand tour, it always has its own particularities, its own specifics, but, in general, I prepares to the Grand tours in the same way as to other races, I try to do the most fruitful and high quality preparation.
What do you think about the Vuelta, is it the hardest Grand tour in the world? Can you rank the Grand tours by difficulty?
- I think that the most difficult Grand tour is the Tour de France, first of all, because of the stress in the race and the huge excitement around it. The Giro is hard by its profile. For me, the Vuelta is faster, there are quite short stages, short steep climbs at the finish, it is explosive in its nature. But I won’t say that the Vuelta is easier than other Grand tours. The Vuelta always comes up with some interesting and new stages, from this race you can always expect some surprise. Certainly, this year we also can expect something unusual. Actually, I wonder if in the season was the fourth Grand tour, would go there someone or not, would the riders have enough energy to come for another Grand tour in one season. I think that a place in the calendar can be found, so, it is a really interesting question: how the community would take such an idea?
The World Championships in Austria comes right after the Vuelta a España. Do you have this race in your plans? What do you think about the route of the Worlds?
- Yes, I really want to perform at the World Championship, I think that the road race suits me by its profile, rhythm and the construction of the route. Of course, everything will depend on my feelings I will come out with after the Vuelta, but the Worlds is in my plans, I would like to come to it in a good shape in order to show the best possible result.
Photo credit: @Bettiniphoto