Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale), one of the revelations of the 2013 season, hopes to take on the Tour de France in the coming season.
The 24-year-old Colombian hopes to raise the stakes following his breakout 2013, which included third at Flèche Wallonne, fourth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and fifth and the climber’s jersey at the Giro d’Italia.
“I have respect for the Tour, but I am very motivated to do things well, and to demonstrate that I can perform well,” Betancur said in a press release. “The white jersey is a dream. I am going to work hard for it to try to get it.”
Betancur will debut in Argentina at the Tour de San Luís next month and will target early season goals at Paris-Nice and the Ardennes classics, where he hopes to top his performance from 2013. After Tour de Romandie, he said he would return to Colombia to prepare at altitude before the Tour de Suisse and a planned debut at the Tour.
“At least in Colombia, I like longer climbs with less gradient. In the Giro, they’re steeper and shorter, and I did pretty well,” he said. “I hope to adapt equally as well to the mountains of the Tour.”
Betancur is working with former Italian classics star Michele Bartoli to try and raise his star even higher than in 2013.
“The preparation from this year gave us good results, and we are going to continue. I want to do a specific preparation for the cobbles to not lose too much time. The truth is I am not accustomed to them,” he said of the cobblestones set for stage 5 in the Tour.
“I am happy with how my 2013 season went. It was a fantastic year for me. It was also a big surprise,” he said. “I hoped to do well, but I didn’t expect to be so far in the front. That just gives me even more motivation for 2014.”