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"I am especially focused on October. I was not afraid of the heat in Abu Dhabi and I know that in October it will be 35-40 degrees at the Worlds in Qatar. It is a feature of the next Worlds which should not be underestimated....

Photo: Le Tour de Langkawi 2015

ANDREA GUARDINI

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ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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29.12.2015 @ 07:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Andrea Guardini is ready for the new season. The Astana rider has just finished a very good season that saw him take eight wins and prove himself to be one of the strongest sprinters. The Italian has now turned his attention to 2016.

 

“I am relaxed after my honeymoon and ready to start again,” he tells Spaziocicllismo in an interview. “I hope to start in the same way as last year because in addition to the results in the first races I was really strong.”

 

Guardini may have won eight races in 2015 but the balance is not completely positive.
 

“I'm a little critical,” he says. “I give myself a 7 because I was still riding well but personally I feel that I missed a few victories. Especially between Dubai and Qatar I was really strong but I finished second or third due to my mistakes in the last meters. In general, however, it went well.”

 

A clear improvement for Guardini was his improved consistency.

 

”This year I was able to be a bit more consistent, winning both in February and in October,” he says. “I missed a bit of strength in the Tour of Poland and Eneco Tour, perhaps because I had trained at altitude too close to the races. I was not good in Poland where I arrived straight from camp. Now I know this and I have more experience in that area because it was a long time since I last trained at altitude. Now I know how I have to work in order to avoid this error in preparation.”

 

Guardini has enjoyed lots of success in the Middle East where he will again be riding in the first part of 2016.

 

“I will again start in Dubai and so I think the Dubai Tour, Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman are the first three races of the season,” he says. “Let's start from there and I definitely want to show myself in Qatar. I am not scared of the wind and I like the fight for position. I am especially focused on October. I was not afraid of the heat in Abu Dhabi and I know that in October it will be 35-40 degrees at the Worlds in Qatar. It is a feature of the next Worlds which should not be underestimated.

 

[I have not talked to Italian national coach Davide Cassani] lately but I remember that last year I mentioned the Worlds in Qatar. I know he thinks about me too.”

 

Astana is very focused on the grand tours which they aim to win with Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru. This has left little space for Guardini who failed to do a single three-week race in 2015.

 

“I'm curious to talk about this with the sports directors,” he said. “I'd like to get a spot in the Giro next year since it will start abroad and will have many flat stages in the beginning. There should be more opportunities for the sprinters and I would like to be there too.”

 

Guardini has now been a professional for five years and has matured a lot.

 

“Over the past two years I have definitely started to know myself better when it comes to preparation and training,” he says. “I begin to understand what I need to get prepared for the races. That's where it makes a difference not coming to the races with a lack of rhythm. You have to be ready.”

 

Guardini knows what will make a successful season for him

 

“I want to do well from the beginning of the season in the races in the Middle East,” he says. “If I could then take part in the Giro, I maybe want to win a stage.”

 

Despite his lack of grand tour opportunities, Guardini is pleased to stay at Astana. He recently renewed his contract.

 

“It was simply because of the fact that it has been my team for three years and I knew what I had,” he says. “I didn’t have any other offers so it was logical to stay here.”

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