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PEZ Talk: Rubens Takes Us Down South
Het Nieuwsblad and KBK may have been the races which grabbed all the headlines last weekend, but further south there were some big races taking place – the GP dell’Insubria-Lugano on Saturday, the GP Lugano on Sunday, and the GP Friuli on Wednesday. PEZ friend, former Tour stage winner and yellow jersey holder – not forgetting the fact that he’s reigning Swiss Elite TT champion – Rubens Bertogliati rode all three.


Rubens he took time to tell us a little about races we read about, but perhaps know little of.

PEZ: GP dell’Insubria-Lugano, tell us a little about it, Rubens.
Rubens: It starts in Switzerland, Lugano but crosses the border into Italy after 15 kilometres, the province of Piedmont. It was a very hard finale, no one really knew the climb and we didn’t realise how hard it was. The rider who wins will be the type of rider who goes well in the Ardennes Classics.





PEZ: Dumoulin won, the French are going very well.
Rubens: He is strong and has been going well; I think that the French riders at at the same level as everyone else because the weather has been so bad across the whole of Europe – no one has benefited from training in good weather. The French guys have good quality but I think that the lack the tactical abilities of the Italians.





PEZ: What was your job on the day?
Rubens: To pull back the break, which we did about five kilometres before the final climb; our man was Ginanni but the climb was too hard for him, we had Bertagnolli in fourth, though. The team was happy with the result; in one day races, you win some and you lose some others – we’ve had a good start, winning the Trofeo Laigueglia, for instance.


PEZ: What about the GP Lugano?
Rubens: It’s a hard Swiss race, hilly and the weather was terrible – it was only three degrees for the whole race and it rained all the time, but it was almost snow. The organisers cut the race by one lap because of a rider protest, a car got onto the parcours – but it was a difficult situation for them because the car came out of a private road on the circuit. It was a difficult day to race on, because of the wet you couldn’t take the normal lines on the corners and had to do a lot of braking. I think the organisers did the right thing by cutting the distance, the conditions were terrible.





PEZ: What kind of rider wins?
Rubens: Again, an Ardennes type of rider – he must climb well but have a good sprint, too. The descents in Lugano aren’t as technical as those the day before, though.


PEZ: What was your role for the day?
Rubens: To look after Bertagnolli, he reckons that normally he might have won it, he had really good legs on the climbs, but like me he froze up when we stopped for the car protest – I would have preferred to keep pedalling, the cold just gets into you. He was seventh and I was in the top 20, so again, the team wasn’t unhappy.





PEZ: Ferrari won.
Rubens: He’s a good rider, he can climb but can also beat the best of the sprinters. He should have a good season, his morale will be good and that counts for a lot.


PEZ: Basso and Cunego rode.
Rubens: Yes, but their major objective is the Giro, perhaps the Ardennes Classics for Cunego but I think they were both there just to do the kilometres.





PEZ: GP Friuli?
Rubens: It’s held on the other side of Italy, near Venice – a sprinter’s race, there’s a hard climb but it’s short and there are still 10 kilometres to the finish. It’s a race which is becoming more important, with more of the big teams supporting it.


PEZ: Your job?
Rubens: To cover the break, I was in it but there was never effective collaboration and we didn’t get more then one to one-and-a-half minutes; it was obvious that it wouldn’t succeed. The race ended in a bunch sprint with more than 60 riders with Ferrari winning again, he beat some very good sprinters – Guarneri, Paolini, Pozzato. I was in the group so didn’t see the finish but I saw it later on TV and he won it well.





PEZ: Your best was Taborre in 21st.
Rubens: He rode very well, an attacking race but the parcours didn’t suit him – he’s more of a climber.


PEZ: Are you happy with your own form?
Rubens: Yes, I’m happy so far. February is not really my month but I’m looking forward to the spring. Next I have l’Eroica, Tirreno and perhaps Milan – San Remo, depending on who in the team goes well in Tirreno.


***
Ah! the Primavera! We wish Rubens well for his forthcoming races and will be talking with him again, soon.

 

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