CyclingPub interview - Jakob Fuglsang: To look for something new at 34 is a big risk
Jan 07 2020 09:45 pm CET

CyclingPub interview - Jakob Fuglsang: To look for something new at 34 is a big risk
CyclingPub interview - Jakob Fuglsang: To look for something new at 34 is a big risk
Photo of Jakob Fuglsang by Astana Pro Team

CyclingPub was present at the 2020 presentation of Astana and there it had the chance of talking to one of the most successful riders of 2019: Jakob Fuglsang.

By Mary Cárdenas

Fuglsang just finished his most successful season to date in which he won the Vuelta a Andalucía/Ruta del Sol, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Criterium du Dauphine, and achieved podium positions in Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, la Fleche Wallonne and the Amstel Gold Race.

CyclingPub was present at the spectacular and flashy team presentation of Astana in Spain that introduced all the riders for 2020, the new Wilier Triestina bikes and offered a review of the outstanding 15 years in which the formation has been part of the professional peloton. In this presentation, riders like Fuglsang, Miguel Ángel López, Ion Izagirre and Alexey Lutsenko get special attention due to the results they got in 2019 and the expectations they have for the upcoming season.

Just after, it is time for the riders to meet the journalists in one-on-one conversations.

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)

Not surprisingly, Fuglsang is one of the most demanded riders by the press, not only because of what he did in 2019 but also because of what he can do in an Olympic year. The rider already knows what is like to be on the podium of the Games, and now he is determined to be on its highest step in 2020.

The waiting time for the Dane is longer than for his teammates, and he goes from chair to chair, from journalists of written press to videographers and radio interviewers. When my time finally comes, I joke “you must be the most wanted man of the team", to which he answers with a big smile “yeah, maybe” and then our talk starts.

Do you consider that the 2019 season was your best so far?

Yeah, for sure it has been my best season so far.

You performed well in one-day races and stage races last year, which ones do you think suit you better?

The thing with the one-day races is that you only have one day to get a good result and with a stage race you have more possibilities and there are more ways in which you can do well. You can do well in GC, by winning a stage, or something like that. It's different, I like both and I would not like to skip one for the other, and I don't think I have to skip one for the other. I think it is possible to do both. I saw in 2019 that it is possible. In grand tours I didn't show much but I hope that I can show next year that I can do well in one-day races and grand tours. My kind of one-day races are the ones that are more for climbers and maybe for GC guys.

You had many podiums in one-day races in 2019, do you have any regrets about those races?

Of course, I have some regrets and of course I think I could have done some things differently, but I try not to look back so much. I try to learn from my mistakes and I try to learn what I can do better next year, so I can change second and third places for victories.

What is your 2020 going to look like?

I will start with the Ruta del Sol, Strade Bianche, Tirreno (Adriatico) and then Amstel (Gold Race), Fleche (Wallone) and Liege (Bastogne-Liege) or maybe just Fleche and Liege and then Giro. And afterwards Tour de France but just for building up and to help (Miguel Ángel) López and then Olympics.

How was the recon of the course of the Olympics (road race)?

It was wet and cold but I think I saw the most important parts and I gathered the idea of the parcours and how hard it actually is. I did the hard climb, the long hard climb, the final 30 kilometres. I think that will be a climb that can make a main selection in the Olympic race.

Do you see yourself as one of the favourites for this race?

Yes, maybe I see myself as one of the favourites or at least as one of the main contenders because I think that I have what it would take. Of course, maybe I don't have the explosivity for a final sprint if it's one against one in the final but the parcours leaves enough opportunities to go early or the race will be so hard that you never know what will happen in the final. When you do 200-235 kilometres, and it probably is going to be warm and humid, and you climb 2000 of altitude, it is never given in advance who will win a sprint. I think that I have possibilities if I come with the right condition.

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Jakob Fuglsang (Astana 2020)

Is this race one of your main objectives for 2020?

Yes for sure. After the first part and after the Giro, it is my main objective. And then what comes after that we have to see. There's also the World Championships that is really hard and it is also very interesting. We will see how far we'll make it. But for the second part, the Olympics is the main goal.

Which other Danish riders do you think can go with you?

Last I heard we get four spots. We have quite a big group of Danish riders to select from but not too many climbers. Jonas Vingegaard of Jumbo-Visma could be one of them, Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb), Michael Valgren (NTT) and then someone like Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) could also be one guy that could be there and probably the guy that can also do the time trial. That's how I see it right now but it depends on priorities and the program that they have leading up to it.

Do you think the weather can make a difference in the Olympic race?

I think so. They say that it can be very hot and for sure humid. That is for sure one thing you have to consider. I heard that the IOC (International Olympic Comitee) wanted them to move the marathon a thousand kilometres to the north of Tokyo because of the humidity and the heat. So it must mean that the weather will be quite extreme.

Astana had an outstanding season in 2019, which factors do you think contributed to this?

We as riders train well and then we have a lot of strong riders but also it was like a snowball. We had a lot of victories already from the beginning from different guys, we were good at helping each other so the other guys could also win and that created a good atmosphere in the team. That together with good equipment, you need good equipment and that's something that the team has prioritized more recently. And I think that paid off.

It is difficult to point at one thing but if you see Astana compared to maybe other teams, we were many guys that won something, not only one or two guys. And I think it's nice when it's not just two guys who have the success and the rest working, working, working, but we actually share it with many guys.

Do you see your own level improving every season?

Until now, I believe that I have improved year by year. Sometimes it's difficult to see black and white on the results but I have the feeling that I'm improving year by year. And I hope that I can continue that but of course I'm also getting older and at one point it probably goes the other way but I hope that it will still take a few years.

Do you think the past season you had the best shape that you have ever had?

Yeah, I think so. At least the highest level in a long time.

How are your feelings on the new bikes (Wilier Triestina)?

I'm really happy with the bike. It's a good bike and I think it's a step forward, a step up from what we had last year. We will see when we are racing but my feelings in training are good, I'm really happy with them.

You have a new contract with Astana, do you think this is the best place for you?

I'm happy here. I had the best season of my career here, I won things, I finished third in the world ranking. To go and look for something new at the age of 34, maybe waste half a year because it was not perfect or because you have to change a lot of things it's also a big risk. I also know the guys around me, the guys who help me, the staff, everybody. I think it was maybe the safe choice but also believe it was a good choice for me to stay and I'm happy here.

In this team you also get to be the GC leader and you have all the trust.

I showed myself last year and it is not like the team has brought any other big guys or bigger guys than me, so I guess I showed enough last year to prove my place for next season.
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JAKOB FUGLSANG
ASTANA PRO TEAM





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