Bauke Mollema, I really like. There is an interview here.
1. A big change: "I've always been in the same Dutch team so when I arrived at Trek I didn't know what to expect, if I'm honest. The team were welcoming and of course I knew some of the riders from the past and from racing but I couldn't be happier with things so far. The change seemed big to start with but after a few days it seemed relatively small. That's down to how they've helped me fit in."
2. One Leader: "In Belkin and Rabobank there were many times when we started a Grand Tour or an important race when we had two or more leaders. For me, personally, I don't think that's the best way of racing. I think it's best to start with one leader and then move to plan B if you need to later."
3. Guercilena's role: "I'm not sure what would have happened if I had stayed on the team but when I spoke to Luca I felt as though he had a lot of confidence in me. That was key in my move. Immediately I felt like I had his confidence and that he wanted me. Once I spoke to Luca my decision was made up. It seemed like the perfect team for me in terms of my role as a stage race leader and rider for the Classics."
4. A new step: "I needed that new challenge and new people around me. This move to Trek is a new step in my career and in the last few years maybe it just didn't feel like I was improving in the way that I wanted and perhaps I needed a new motivation and environment to make that next step."
5. Schedule: "I will start in Mallorca and then I'll do Murcia, Ruta del Sol, Tirreno, Pais Vasco and then the Classics. After that there might be a break and then we'll work towards the Tour de France. Of course, the Classics are a big goal next year too. I want to hit top form in the Spring. Last year I had some top tens in the Ardennes and I'm aiming at the top five. I'm a year older, with a year of more experience and that really helps in those races because you know the roads and you become more used to the distance. We've got a strong team too with [Fränk] Schleck and [Julian] Arredondo, guys who can either get a good result or help me," he tells Cyclingnews.
6. The best winter ever: "This is the best winter I've had on the bike and I expect that good shape to pay off."
7. TdF: "Normally that's the plan [one leader] but we have riders who can ride for GC in a Grand Tour, like Zubeldia, who has been in the top ten five times, and Fränk Schleck, who has been on the podium."
"It's one for the climbers. Maybe it would have been nicer with some more time trials because I'll go better on this new bike. There's the team time trial and the first week finish on the Mur de Huy are good for me. It's important, as ever, to stay healthy and upright in that first week and then see from there.
I hope so with the top five. It's always hard to predict and my focus now is to start well at the first few races of the year and improve the level from last year. From there I can start to focus on a Tour position. I've been sixth and tenth in the last two years so my goal is to be a top five rider in the next few years. I'm at an age where I'm getting better."
I like this guy and I really like his attitude: no big claim but a realistic goal and a full commitment. I especially like the fact he doesn't sound TdF obsessed and willing to do well since the start, taking races seriously. I'm happy he comes for Tirreno! Then in my opinion Mollema can be on a Tour de France podium, he just need a bit of good luck because the rest is already there.