Sergio Henao is looking to pick up exactly where he left off last year as the Colombian embarks on his second season in the pro ranks.
"Things have definitely changed in Colombia for me and I find I am being noticed more."
Henao burst onto the scene in 2012 with his natural climbing ability, taking part in both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana during an impressive debut campaign.
Narrowly missing out on an elusive win on a number of occasions - including the recent Trofeo Serra di Tramuntana in Mallorca - the 25-year-old is looking to kick on again in 2013.
“I’ve worked really hard at the training camp in Mallorca, as did the whole team, and I was happy to get a podium place to start the season off there,” said the climber.
Henao used the European winter period to re-charge his batteries in the heat of Colombia - training and spending important time with his family.
He explained: “I had a really good off-season in Colombia and I was able to spend a lot of time with my family which I am not normally able to do during the season.
"When you are travelling so much during the year it is very important to spend some time with the people close to you, and to reset ahead of the new season.”
A year riding at the forefront of the pro peloton has seen Henao’s profile rise back in his home country: “Things have definitely changed in Colombia for me and I find I am being noticed more,” he admitted.
“People were able to watch the Giro and the Vuelta on TV so they have been able to follow mine and the team’s progress. I’ve worked really hard to get to this point and it is nice to be recognised for this.”
With the races arriving thick and fast, Henao is looking to impress once again and work his way into contention for another trip to the Giro d’Italia in May.
“First and foremost I want to get picked for the Giro squad and arrive there in good form.
"I want to be ready to ride 100 per cent for Bradley. I am ready to work for him and the team there, and then along the way, if I am in good form, it would be great to perform and try to win something at WorldTour level, whether it’s a stage somewhere like Tirreno-Adriatico, or a race.
"I like to keep improving and every year my aim is to get better.”
With impressive showings not only across three weeks of Grand Tours, but also in the prestigious Ardennes, Henao says he is happy to race anywhere.
“I like both [stage and one-day races],” he confirmed. “I got to ride a lot of races last season and nearly all the Classics are great. I found Amstel Gold to be a really big fight, but at the end of the day I just enjoy competing at this level.”
Despite wanting to look forward, when asked, Henao admits it is nice to think back 12 months to his early-season campaign and to see how far he has come since then.
“It was a proud moment for me to start my career at this level. I was really happy that I could move up to the professional ranks and feel strong in the races and make an impact.
"It is nice to look back but now I am looking forward to the next set of challenges.”