Vierhouten experiencing a new lease of life at Skil-Shimano
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Aart Vierhouten is in blistering form right now, after a second place in the GP Rudy Dhaenens and a third place in the E3 Prijs in Harelbeke, where he shared the podium with world champion Tom Boonen and Italy’s Alessandro Ballan. The 36-year-old says he’s often felt this good at this stage of the season. “I felt things click then to, it’s the form you have to have as a rider. But it’s noticed more now because I’ve obviously always had to ride in the service of others in past years.”

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Aart Vierhouten (picture: Cyclingheroes)

The good news is, you ain’t seen nothing yet. “I’ve laid a very good foundation, but I would have liked to have ridden a few more races. I feel I’m getting better race by race and I even think I can go faster.”

This year Vierhouten swapped his place in the Davitamon-Lotto engine room for a place at the front of the pack at Skil-Shimano. It is a role that he is enjoying very much, although he has had to get used to it. “Being  able to ride very fast at the front doesn’t automatically mean you will finish on the podium in the races. It’s not that simple. You have to ride another race tactically.”

Besides being the team’s leading rider, the experienced Vierhouten has another role in the team. “I like sharing my experience with the young lads in the team and encouraging them. I understand only too well that they sometimes find things tough in the classic races. I also finished my first E3 Prijs on my last legs. You have to toughen up before you can play a significant role. It’s a question of experience.”

Last year’s E3 Prijs podium was the same as the one in the Tour of Flanders, but  Vierhouten is not getting carried away about his chances in the classic. “It would be great but it certainly isn’t guaranteed. The Tour of Flanders is a step up from the E3 Prijs. But I am very confident nevertheless. I know I am up to riding that distance, the farther the better actually. I’ll be putting in 110 per cent in any event and I want to get the best out of myself in all races. My target is to get as near to the winner as I can and I don’t mind whether that is in Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, the Amstel Gold Race or Gent-Wevelgem.”

He has already decided on his tactics. “As a rider from a smaller team in races with such a strong line-up you have to ensure you stay calm. You mustn’t waste too much unnecessary energy. I’ve seen a couple of people in recent weeks that I would like to be in a breakaway with. I’ll be keeping an eye on them in any event.”

One thing is certain, Vierhouten feels at home in the Skil-Shimano team. “I’m really happy. The atmosphere is good, calm and relaxed. I’m cycling without any pressure, which hasn’t always been the case. A nice extra is that I’m now riding in the same jersey as Gerrie Knetemann rode in twenty years ago. I got along with him very well and I had to think about him when I was on the podium in the Skil shirt in the E3 Prijs.”

Source: Skil-Shimano

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