After nine days of competition and, more importantly, huge tiredness due to the long transfers -the riders reached their hotel at 00.30 on Monday following a long trip from the very summit of the Etna vulcano-, Movistar Team sports director José Luis Jaimerena did an overview on the performance by the squad after the first half of the 2011 Giro d’Italia.
We are satisfied of what we did up to the moment, we can’t complain. Specially because we already achieved what was one of our main goals: taking a stage victory. Due to everything a win in a Grand Tour represents, having made it so early is really important, because you’re way more calm in the remnant of the race. Of course we won’t get content with that and will be trying to get some more victories. The behaviour from the squad has been really good, probably in the same line we have been following throughout the season. Everyone is complying with the expectations and that’s positive. Apart from the victory, the challenge of being on front in the GC is also underway, looking good.
Arroyo and the GC
Yesterday was the first stage where we could see real fireworks, and David showed he’s looking good and looking for what we expected from him: doing a good GC result. It’s obvious that last year he had an important help from the time he gained into the breakaway to L’Aquila, but after that he proved to be evolving well as a leader, being able to cope with that responsibility he wasn’t used to. That has given him great self-confidence to tackle the race in quite a different way. On the paper, there are riders counting more for the GC than him, but I’m completely sure that, if he doesn’t go through any troubles during the race and with that experience from last year, he will be on front because he’s a very regular rider. He can’t make such big exhibitions, but never fails and yesterday, at the first round of this combat, he took a great mark. I think that making a top-5 might be at his reach, it’s not an impossible dream, but with this route we have to race day by day.
A powerful, compact team
You can look at the teams’ overall, we don’t lose sight of it and we have chances to win it, and that’s because of the average level by the group. All nine riders are in good form and doing their planned job. The maestry and directing skill from Pablo Lastras makes a big impact: he’s a rider who’s into control of every single detail and is also doing really well here. Kiryienka is a rider who has performed well in the past and has the potential to be up-front. He hasn’t ever contested a GT and might have some difficulties in the big mountains, but we trust him. Pardilla is a bit more uncertain by the fact he’s doing his first ever GT. We know he’s a very good climber, but more important than that is seeing how he recovers from so many days of competition. We hope him not to suffer from this lack of experience on the recovery. His incident yesterday -he broke his bike in the last turn and had to do the final 250m to the line by foot- was a pity, but he wasn’t far from the group of Menchov and Purito, and the important thing is that he lost three minutes to them just by the crash, not due to lack of strength. We’ll keep protecting Arroyo with the other riders and also look for our chances in the breakaways, which might be quite some until the end of the Giro, but also taking care of Ventoso’s options in the few sprints we will see until we reach Milano.
At Montevergine, Contador didn’t seem to be so strong, but he did neglect that feeling the day after with his move. Nibali, Scarponi are all big riders, but Albert has already won many GT’s, and if everything goes right for him, it’s really superior to the rest, the big favourite for me. It’s true that his performance in the Etna was a bit surprising, taking charge of the Giro so early in the race and tackling the challenge of controlling it, because it might turn a duel between him and the rest, but you never know when it’s best to take the leader jersey. People say he hasn’t got a real team, but I do think he has a good squad, and when you have the jersey, the teammates are more motivated. You never know when it’s best to snatch the race lead. There’s equality between the rest. I got a bit surprised by Menchov and Purito, who use to be on front in such mountains and lost time, but the first mountain stage always takes some victims and their losses are not unsurmountable. We have to keep counting on them.