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By Andrew Hood
Juan José Haedo admits that winning in Europe wasn’t as easy as he expected after he made the high-profile switch from the U.S. domestic scene to join Team CSC for the 2007 season.
The Argentine ace won six races – four in the U.S. and two in Europe – in his first of two years with the Danish outfit, but he admits victories were harder to come by than on the U.S. domestic scene where he says he could snag wins when he wasn’t at 100 percent.
“Some things were harder than I thought they would be while others were slightly easier than expected. It’s a whole other way of doing things over here simply because the level is so much higher in Europe,” he said on Team CSC’s web page. “A lot of the time in the States, I could win a race or at least be at the top of the list even though I was only giving about 70 or 80 percent. Over here, that’s just not possible. You get dropped straight away if don’t make an effort.”
The South American sprinter said his 2007 season proved invaluable as he learned what it takes to win at the highest level. His Euro-side wins came at the Rund um Köln in Germany in April ahead of some heavy-hitters preparing for the Giro d’Italia and another at the Tour of Denmark in August.
It wasn’t a bad haul for “Jota,” but he says he won’t be satisfied until he notches some wins in more important and higher-profile European events. “Next year I’d like to win some ProTour races. I’ve learned a lot about how to train and rest between the various races, because it’s very important that I plan these things better than I used to,” Haedo said. “For example, I should have had more rest ahead of Giro d’Italia, because after one week I was completely worn out.”
Haedo came into the Giro hoping to bump shoulders with the likes of Alessandro Petacchi and Robbie McEwen, but got shelled in the higher speeds and longer distances of the three-week Italian stage race. He posted a handful of top 10s and abandoned after the first week.
Haedo is now regrouping in his native Argentina, where he will stay for the off-season except for a trip for Team CSC’s team-building camp next month.
“Now I’m going home to Argentina for the next three or four months, which is in the summer, so I’ll get loads of opportunities to train on the roads,” he said. “It’s really my resting periods, which I need to plan more carefully, and then I’ll get those ProTour wins.” Dean ready for new challenges
At 32, Julian Dean wants more than to be a lead-out man for some of cycling’s best sprinters.
After four seasons leading Thor Hushovd through the sprints at Credit Agricole, Dean jumped at the chance to join Slipstream as the American team makes the transition into the big leagues in the 2008 season.
“It wasn’t a financial thing. I was just looking for new opportunities and to keep improving as an athlete and as a person,” Dean told a New Zealand newspaper. “I’ve been four years doing the same job on the same team. It’s probably going to be the last contract I sign as a professional, so I’m always looking at opportunities.”
The Kiwi export is expecting more of his own chances with Slipstream, which will be looking to earn a wild card berth to next year’s Tour de France among other big races.
Slipstream will be introducing its entire 2008 lineup at the Boulder Theater on Nov. 14. Check out the team’s webpage for more information at www.slipstreamsports.com.