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"My plan is to attack more, to be more aggressive. I have a good feeling when riding uphill. In the Tour de Romandie I was able to assist Van den Broeck really well.”

Photo: Vincent Calu/Photonews

FRANCIS DE GREEF

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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LOTTO-DSTNY

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02.05.2013 @ 08:25 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Francis De Greef of Lotto-Belisol is turning into something of a Giro d’Italia veteran, competing in the corsa rosa for the sixth time. In the previous edition he became 19th, this year he will be looking to repeat his top 20 achievement and possibly improve on last year’s performance.

 

Comparing the Giro to the Tour de France, De Greef points to the fact that the Italian Grand Tour is less stressful than its French counterpart.

 

“The Giro is a tough race, the mountains are very steep,” he explained. It’s a race that suits me, it’s less nervous than the Tour. The riders that start are often the same, like Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky). But there are less crashes and less stress. After all those years I know the ins and outs of the Giro, it feels like coming home.”

 

“It’s difficult to tell where you’ll be at the end of those three weeks; you also have to be a bit lucky. The participants are stronger than in 2012. If I can get the same result, it would be great and every place I am higher in the ranking will make me even more satisfied. My plan is to attack more, to be more aggressive. I have a good feeling when riding uphill. In the Tour de Romandie I was able to assist Van den Broeck really well.”

 

De Greef doesn’t want just to race more aggressively to obtain a good place in the GC, but he also dreams of winning a stage in this Giro.

 

“My regularity is my strength, every year I proved that I gain places in the GC throughout the final week. I always have to get into a Grand Tour at first, but afterwards it all goes well. I recuperate very well, so at the end of a stage race I am better. Time trials aren’t my strongest point. We’ll definitely do a recon of the team time trial, which is pretty technical and hard because of the climb. In the flat time trial the first week, I have to make sure I don’t lose too much time and also in the climb time trial I’ll give everything.”

 

“I actually hope to win a stage, then I would be happy for the rest of the Giro and I’d see how it would end. Of course the others have to let you go and the past few years that was difficult in this race, because most of the time the escapees get caught because there is always one team that wants to defend its interests. That doesn’t make it easy to stay in front, but I’ll definitely try.”

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