Rainbow calling for Blues (5): IMANOL ERVITI
19 September 2011

The Navarran will be part of the team looking for Óscar Freire's fourth road world title in Copenhagen, in helping labors he accomplished to perfection twelve months ago on Australian turf After a difficult Vuelta a España for him, where a serious crash at the finish of Talavera de la Reina and the virus affecting the team during the last week avoided him showing his real level, Imanol Erviti will have a reward for his sacrifice finishing the Spanish grandtour with his participation in the Worlds road race on Sunday. Happily recovered in the two last stages of the Vuelta, the Spaniard found recognition from national coach José Luis de Santos after his commitment in the last month and, above all, the amazing work done last year at the road race in Geelong. The Movistar Team rider will be one of the top domestiques for Óscar Freire en route to the world title in Copenhagen, a city he will reach on Thursday alongside his teammates.

First of all, the mere fact that they remind of yourself to make part of the national team is gratifying, even more for a World Championship. Personally, I think it also gives me a chance to close the season with good sensations after a bad end due to the crash and the virus in the Vuelta. My first Worlds came last year and I could feel it’s a race different to them all; it’s just one day, but it allowed you wearing the jersey with you for all the year, everyone there has been selected as the best from their nations, the big palmares of the race… It can’t be compared to any other race. This year, it will allow me taking my fury off after not being able to show the level I thought I had during the Vuelta, and also with strong motivation to help Óscar Freire make history and take his fourth rainbow jersey.

Above all, the most important thing I tried to do after the Vuelta was recovering well. Sessions of massage, osteopathy… outside the bike, I still have pain in my foot and ribs due to the crash in Talavera. Last Saturday I did good training and the important thing this week is taking care of my body, keeping the muscular tone because you have the racing pace in your legs. The work is done, even more after the Vuelta we did, with such mountain drops and the speed, at least the speed seeming so fast for me all race… When you return from a GT you feel like dead, but when you train with someone you can realize that those three weeks give you a plus that’s difficult to gain with the training.

My only goal is working for the team, fundamentally to be grateful towards the coach for bringing me here. I know that if I’m here is just because I worked really hard that year and they liked it. I had to stay there from the start and up to the 200th kilometer to control a big break that got formed and this year my role will be quite the same I think. My work will be controlling all splits, avoiding any chaos affecting us and protecting Óscar from the wind to get him in good position.

I have seen some videos through the Internet, but the images never transmit the real feeling about how it looks. In any case, it seems easier than last year’s route, which had a really hard slope. I like it because it doesn’t look dangerous nor hard, so someone like Gilbert can attack and leave us no chance. The sprint is uphill and that makes Cavendish not being the only favourite. I think we can get to it really well. Being an easy route, it’s likely that we’ll have many more adventurers than in a hard route, where only the strongest stand. The responsibility will lie again on teams like ours having 9 riders. We have more cards to play and control the cuts, even though countries with less riders can take profit, as it happened last year with Hushovd.

As far as it’s looking this year, I think Gilbert is the main rival. Plus, Cavendish has won some stages in the Tour of Britain and that’s a sign of goof form. Same for Hushovd, and of course Freire. We have full confidence on him and even more looking at his performance in Wallonie, where he took 7th into a finish not suiting him at all. We know he’s training well, like he usually does before the Worlds, and that mental work he does for this race gives tranquility to his teammates.

2010: elite (ABN RR)