Sunday, February 11, 2024 at 8:25 am
video They have barely completed four days of racing, but you could already classify Paul Magnier (19) and Luc Lamberti (21) as early season finds. Neopro Magnier immediately won his first professional race with Trofeo Ses Salines, after a perfect lead from… Lamberti. The American, in turn, almost won the Muscat Classic on Friday. Clearly, great things are about to happen for them, so it's time to introduce them to the camera.
Magnier: “It was actually a very good start to the season for the whole team. We were able to work well together in Mallorca straight away. Unfortunately for Luke, he had a flat tire when he had the chance, but even then we had firmly controlled the race. We are a team “Strong team with clear team spirit. I really hope we can build on that.”
Moreover, you were no strangers to each other. How well have you performed in previous years?
Lamberti: “We rode together at Trinity Racing last year, so of course we knew each other already. Not many people knew how fast Paul was, but when we were preparing for the first races, I actually thought it would be possible for him to win outright. We didn't ride a lot Together last year. Paul was busy with some other things (Magnier rode several Mountain Bike World Cups, his first love, editor), so our schedules didn't overlap very often. But it helps in those first matches to already know each other. In Mallorca, we have become closer to each other.”
But you had to sacrifice, Luke. Was it a good thing to do an introduction like that?
Lamberti: “Yes, it was good. I had never done so many shows before. But with guys like Yves Lambert and Gianni Moscone you learn quickly. The introduction went perfectly. Of course it won’t always be that easy, but we’re happy about it.”
Many people knew of Luke's abilities, but Paul, you were unknown until recently. What is your greatest strength?
Magnier: “I've always had good sprints in training (Magnier even beat Tim Merlier during training camp, ed.), but in racing, it's another thing. You also have to be good at positioning, and show confidence in the players who Intro for you.The big difference this year is that those strong advances are actually there this time.
The team's sprint coach is Tom Stills. What is his role in this whole story?
Magnier: “He told me casually on the bus that I would be the team captain for my first race. He showed a lot of confidence in me and my races. He has a lot of experience and knows the tactics for the front. Not unimportant.”
Lamberti: “His knowledge goes so far. He knows exactly what he's doing. Tom comes with a clear plan, so we know exactly when to do what. He also makes us believe in ourselves. Having someone like that behind you is invaluable, especially with young runners. You also have Very tough guys like Lambert, who's been in this position before. And Tom is very smart.
Magnier: “It became clear again in Mallorca. We didn't know the final very well, but two laps before the end, I got in touch with Tom on the radio. He then made a plan to go first and second into the last corner. It's always good to have such an experienced coach explain to you in detail what You have to do it.
Was winning outright a surprise to you?
Magnier: “Of course! I had good sprints in training camp (against Merlier and his teammates, editor), but you know in the race it's completely different. On the other hand, now that it's worked, it leaves me wanting more. I really want to build on this momentum with the team.”
What is the biggest difference between you as runners?
Lamberti: “I think Paul has real top speed in his legs. If you look at his speed, he really has the speed of adults. I really expect him to come in, he definitely has the pace for that. I'm particularly good at positioning. I also like sprints.” The collective that's a little bit more uphill, or the sprint after a tough race. But with Paul's speed, we saw that he could really compete with Big men. I think we can see him as one of the best runners in all competitions. You will also gain that confidence from those first matches with you in the coming weeks.
Moreover, there are some opportunities in Soudal Quick Step. Of course, Tim Merlier remains the number one runner, but beyond that there is an open way to shine.
Lamberti: “I think so too. It is a good year for young riders to join this team. There are many opportunities in the team to strive for good results, but also to help each other with that. Merlier is and will remain the best, but we cannot complain about the opportunities in which we can prove “Ourselves. This is something to look forward to.”
Sometimes people said the team was weak. But it turns out that this is not the case at all?
Magnier: “Let them talk. Of course the team was very good last year. They won a lot…”
Lamberti: “And yes, some big names have left the team. We can't ignore that. Jacobsen is a big name, but the riders who change are part of this sport. But don't underestimate the experience of young people coming from the U23 level. The level of these competitions has risen dramatically In recent years. Riders like Paul, who wins straight away with the pros, are exceptions, but she ensured that we started well as a team. William Junior Lecerf, also a new pro, finished second in the AlUla Tour. We have a really good group, including All riders who can succeed in their early years. Certainly thanks to the experience of the strong core that was already there.
Paul, you already said this left you wanting more. What are the other goals this season?
Magnier: “My biggest goals are actually promises. I often go out with Team Devo. Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23 is my biggest goal, just like winning the rainbow jersey at the U-23 World Cup. I also want to learn as much as I can in WorldTeam. Just because “Just because I won so quickly doesn't mean this success will continue. I still have a lot to learn. For example, I'm really looking forward to doing a tough race like Strade Bianche with Julian Alaphilippe and Casper Asgren.”
And Luke, of course, do you want to get your first professional victory quickly?
Lamberti: “Of course, that is my main goal this season. To win as much as possible. And I realize what Paul says about learning. I will ride some classics with the big leaders. The goal there is to gain experience, and when I have the opportunity, I will take it.
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