PEZ: Have you always had a good sprint?
Francisco: Yes, since I was at cycling school I’ve always had a good finish, I had more than 100 wins before I turned pro – all in the sprint.
PEZ: Did you have a sprint hero when you were young?
FV: Abdu! [Uzbekistani kamikaze, Djamolidin Abdujaporov]. When he sprinted it was always a big show, very spectacular, all over the road.
PEZ: Do you do specific sprint training?
FV: I don’t do specific sprint training but I work on my climbing because I need to improve it and I do a lot of power training and speed-work.
As a fresh faced 22-year-old in Qatar – Ventoso swiped the win.
PEZ: You scored two wins as a first year pro but none in your second year.
FV: This was because in my second year my programme was much tougher, I started to ride events like Paris-Nice, the Giro and the Vuelta. In my first season they let me ride a less difficult programme so I was able to win at that level. (Ed. yeah, that win at Philly was pretty easy.)
PEZ: In 2006 you moved-up a gear, winning a Vuelta stage is a big result.
FV: I’ve ridden a lot more kilometres now, a lot more races, my body has adapted to the demands of pro racing. I can train harder than I used to and I recover much better now too,
Big Win #1 came at the 2006 Vuelta for Ventoso – ahead of some pretty fair sprinters.
PEZ: What do you want to win in 2007?
FV: Everything! I’ll be riding a full Pro Tour calendar, starting with Milan – San Remo and going through the Tour and Vuelta.
PEZ: Who impresses you most among the current sprinters?
FV: Oscar Freire, no question, he is the master of focussing on a particular race and getting the result he wants.
PEZ: You’ve been with Saunier since the start, tell us about the changes.
FV: The team has been growing step by step, getting stronger to fight for the GC in the big Tours.
Ventoso doesn’t love climbing, but he gets the job done – here at the Tour de France this summer.
PEZ: What’s your style of sprinting?
FV: The Petacchi style where you have a lead-out train and launch off that. I favour a controlled sprint where the trains wind it up. I have good lead-out men here – but not as good as Milram I’m afraid!
PEZ: What about the hills?
FV: I still don’t like them so much!
Thank you Francisco, may you have nice flat 2007.