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“I have the ambition to improve and be the best. To be a leader? I have to prove my quality on the road and we’ll see if it can happen someday,” Mikel Nieve told in the interview for Biciciclismo. 

Photo: Sirotti




26.02.2014 @ 12:19 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Mikel Nieve has finally kicked off his 2014 season as he debuted in the Team Sky’s stylish outfit in the Tour of Oman last week. Even though his whole work was dedicated to support Christopher Froome in his first, among many other, title defense this year, the new more aggressive tactical approach applied by the British squad in Omani campaign provided Basque rider with several opportunities to shine as he finished 20th overall, taking 11th place on a queen stage.


Interviewed by Biciciclismo just after he returned home from him first campaign with Team Sky, Nieve shared his first reflections on familiarizing with a new and very different environment, definitely less homogeneous than Euskaltel where he spent five consecutive seasons and his main tasks and aspirations concerning 2014 season.


The 29-year old Basque climber admitted, that he was overwhelmed at first by the Team Sky’s extensive structures, but soon he was pleased to discover that the atmosphere within the staff is more opened and relaxed than he suspected. Nieve also prizes his new squad for the well recognized scientific approach concerning every aspect of preparation and a top quality, perfectly maintained equipment.


“It’s an international team, with a very large structure and organization. At first I was impressed by the amount of people worked at around equipment. It may seem closed from the outside, but once you’re let inside these are very normal and opened people. I am delighted,” Nieve shared his first impressions on Team Sky.


Nieve, already recognized as a very skillful climber, admitted that his approach to training has been changed as he joined the British team.


“In winter we have worked hard. What has changed is the amount of hours spent on a bike: many days it’s five or even more. I’ve got used to that already and I hope it will find a reflection in my future results.”


Asked about his first race in the Team Sky’s outfit, Nieve expressed his satisfaction about a final result as they managed to achieve all the goals and apply new tactics studied by Dave Brailsford.


“Everything was new to me as I debuted with Sky in the race, but it has been a nice experience and I enjoyed the bike.”


“We had an idea of staying in front with Froome and Henao. Before we started Froome had some doubts, but felt fine on the stages preceding climbs and then decided to attack on Saturday. Our task was to make the race tough as possible and he finished off the work,” Nieve explained tactics on the Omani queen stage.


“I found myself in quite a good shape, close to the best on the climbs. Now I need to go on and improve in forthcoming races, starting with Tirreno.”


Even though Nieve was one of the Euskaltel leaders in mountainous races, it was clear that his role in the British team would be to support leaders on mountain stages, with the main objective this season to ride as a domestique of Froome in his Tour the France title defense. The Basque rider admits that he easily found a common language with his new captain and that there was little pressure in their first campaign of the season. He suspects, however, that this may change as they would approach more important events of 2014.


“I got to know him a little more in Oman. I can say that he’s a very calm and approachable person, polite and grateful, a good guy,” Nieve told Biciclismo about Froomey.


“We always try to win. In Oman I didn’t notice the pressure, but perhaps the most important are yet to arrive, especially with our biggest goal, the Tour the France.”  


The former Euskaltel rider believes, that however his main responsibility would be to support Froome, he will still receive some opportunities to play his own cards and he makes sure to be ready to take those with both hands. Nieve also aims to improve his time trialing skills while working with highly qualified Team Sky’s coaches, as it was his serious weakness in the past.


“I knew for what purpose I was coming here. The most important thing for me is to stay at my best. Opportunities will come alone, no specific goals are needed. Now I feel good, and, for example, at the Vuelta al pais Vasco I’d like to be in a good shape and able to do something. The team will ride for Henao.”


“We have to improve and progress to stay around and hopefully I’ll become a better rider in Sky. For example, there’s a big room for improvement in my time trial skills, it has been a great handicap for me.”


“I have the ambition to improve and be the best. To be a leader? I have to prove my quality on the road and we’ll see if it can happen someday,” Nieve concluded with optimism. 



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