Cipo names three targets

After a couple of seasons in the wilderness, Mario Cipollini has revamped his training and feels tha

After a couple of seasons in the wilderness, Mario Cipollini has revamped his training and feels tha
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM (click for larger version) Mario Cipollini has yet to register a victory at the Tour of Qatar, but a very close second place to the very in-form Tom Boonen on day one showed that the veteran Italian's sprinting legs still have plenty of zip in them. Thirty-eight next month, Cipollini says he has changed his training programme to allow for his age and is feeling the benefit of that. He also maintains he is not yet ready to consider retirement. Speaking to La Dernire Heure's Philippe Van Holle in Qatar, the Liquigas sprinter admitted that things have not gone the way he would have wanted since he won the world title in 2002. "I really wanted to show honour to the rainbow jersey and I undoubtedly put too much pressure on myself," he confessed. "In reality, I overtrained during the winter of 2002/3 and I was tired at the first races of the season. Then I spent the rest of the year chasing my form. and I never caught it. I didn't understand what was going on. The worst thing was that it all went to my head and I continued on the same path in 2004. "But I lost sight of an important factor - my age. When you're 35 you don't recuperate like you did when you were 20. I thought I needed to train more, but in fact the opposite was true, and I needed to give myself more recovery periods. Thankfully, I now know what was going on. I radically changed my way of training over the winter and I'm benefiting from that now. Here in Qatar I feel that there is some zip in my legs." Cipo is hoping that zip will make him a contender at his three key targets this season: Milan-San Remo, Ghent-Wevelgem and the Giro. The former and latter are obvious objectives for an Italian sprinter, but the Belgian Classic less so. "I'm drawn to that race because it suits me and I've already won it. In addition, and above all, I think that Wevelgem is the world championship for sprinters. The level reached in that race is enormous." Cipollini refused to be drawn on targets beyond the Giro, and specifically the Worlds in Madrid, saying it was too soon to say how his legs will be at that point in the season. He also doesn't seem to keen yet to think about retirement. "I still really love cycling, and when you are passionate about something age is not a problem," he commented. "It is difficult for me to think about retirement. I want to keep hang on as long as I can. However, you have to be realistic. When you're training you can kid yourself about why things aren't working. But in a race you can never hide from the facts."
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