Aleksandr Vlasov was said to have some disputes with Cian Uijtdebroeks over at the Vuelta a España last season, some internal competition inside BORA - hansgrohe. The Russian rider admits that even though Primoz Roglic is now in the team and sharing goals, he does not yet think of himself in a domestique role.
"We'll see who's in better shape and we'll adjust accordingly," Vlasov told Bici.Pro regarding his work with the Slovenian at the upcoming Paris-Nice. Vlasov is keen on not settling into a domestique role with his new teammate and that includes the Tour de France: "This year we too will go to the Tour with all the best, such as Jumbo and the UAE which will even bring five captains. But it doesn't mean that I'll start pulling for Roglic from the first kilometer and leave the rankings straight away. First we need to see how the race goes."
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Vlasov has over the past years shown a lot of consistency in stage-races, and has marked himself as one of the leaders of the German team. This year however things change, with Red Bull coming in to directly connect with the team, and the German outfit signing Giro d'Italia winner Primoz Roglic who has the direct goal of winning the Tour de France. Vlasov is part of the provisional lineup and of the plan, and will also be in France where the team will contest with UAE Team Emirates and Team Visma | Lease a Bike who will also have several possible yellow jersey contenders as well.
"I had a good winter. I never got sick, I never missed training and I see this as an advantage. I have worked well and I am getting closer to my goals. In a month there is Paris-Nice, then Catalunya, which alone are very interesting. And then I'll get to the Flèche [Wallone] and the Liège," Vlasov says of his plan for the spring. "And at that point we will look towards the Tour, with another high point. In theory I would also have Romandie in the program, but I don't think it is functional for the preparation of the Tour. We will see it later."
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Over the opening weeks of the season, the 27-year old has finished on the podium of every single race he's started: Trofeo Calvia; Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana; Trofeo Pollença and the Volta a Comunitat Valenciana. It is valuable quality for the team, but he is looking to turn this quality into victories.
"...I grow gradually and I think that's fine, better than having a sensational year and then disappearing. In reality I don't know my limits yet and racing next to Roglic will be an advantage," he believes. "Seeing how such an athlete trains and races will be an inspiration, the Tour will be an excellent school. In the meantime I will be able to follow my goals. Next up is Paris-Nice. Morale has grown and the objectives are higher, we think like a top team."
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"No, I did more or less the same. I focused on improving uphill, because in the Vuelta at the end I was separating myself from the best and when you're there, it's difficult to resign yourself. In my head I'm not about to give in. I say: 'Where the hell do you want to go?'. You don't feel like letting them go, but it happens and I have to grow up. However, in the time trial I think I improved a lot."
"When I placed fourth in the 2021 Giro, it was the second time in a three-week race and perhaps I lacked a bit of experience. I made a couple of big mistakes and lost a lot. At the 2022 Tour, however, I fell and I don't even know how I managed to hold on and finish fifth," he concludes. "Finally, at the last Vuelta, there were very strong riders. I tried to stay with them, but the last season wasn't my best. I wasn't feeling great and even though I like long climbs, I paid something."