Oliver Naesen together with Greg Van Avermaet one of the Belgian riders in the Tour of Oman, which is Saturday. The leader of AG2R explains in the sultanate the final touches on his preparation for the classic season and want to be there, especially the “legs test” and see how far along he is.
After a lot of places in 2017 wanted to Naesen in 2018 to confirm, but bad luck pierced his classics. He was lying on the floor. “I was in that spring more concerned with the chase than with self-course”, looks he’s back at a press conference in the run-up to the Tour of Oman. “That spring I want to be as quickly as possible forgotten. I had very trained hard and had good legs, but I never can show.”
In 2019 he wants to do away with the setbacks. “I do not like to think that I have such a spring would have to drive”, says he. “I really don’t see that. I have this winter tremendously trained hard, my diet taken care of, nothing left to chance and I would like a strong spring drive.”
Big statements, he does prefer not to, especially not after the spring of 2018. “I started then with a lot of confidence, wanted to win a classic, but ultimately smakte I too much against the asphalt and I was barely involved. Beware, as bad it was now also again not. I was fourth in the E3 Harelbeke, sixth in Gent-Wevelgem, eleventh in the Tour of Flanders, twelfth in Roubaix, but I took aim on more. I rode a good Tour and a strong autumn, but I wanted to be ready in the spring. Now is that once again the ambition. Is my spring only managed to win in a classic or semiklassieker? No, I do not want to say. Also, a dense pride of place would make me already a lot of fun can do. Of course, I would like to win, but then you have all the pieces of the puzzle fall. I will after this Round of Oman, already a lot wiser. Two years ago I had a couple of trips indicated, but I finally came each time just short on a couple of climbs before the finish. I can now make those climbs about, then I have a result. Then I will be satisfied. I want to also see what the competition here is worth.”