Hello from Denmark. I always enjoy the start of the Giro abroad like in Amsterdam two years ago. It's more interesting. The first part in a different country is like another race in itself.
I'm back to "my" national Tour after leaving on a sad note last year when I crashed badly with two days to go. I quit the race with an open account: my appetite for winning was intact prior to the final time trial in Milan. It was like walking out of a restaurant with hunger and the feeling of having forgotten something.
I've had to work very hard to come back to the level I had the day of my accident. I had a broken hip. Only at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco one month ago, I felt myself competitive again, but the delay was normal: three months off the bike means nine months for the recovery.
Here we are. I resume the Giro with the goal I couldn't reach last year: the closing individual time trial in Milan in three weeks time. I'd like to put a stamp on my bid for London. I want to represent Italy at the Olympic Games. I haven't spoken yet with the Technical Commissary Paolo Bettini but I guess that the final stage in Milan is crucial in his mind.
We also start with a time trial. It's 8.7km with thirteen curves on the menu in Herning, Denmark. One of my teammates, Taylor Phinney, is a favorite together with Alex Rasmussen from Garmin-Barracuda and Geraint Thomas from Team Sky. He's done 4.15 in the individual pursuit and he brings this ability to do well on longer distances as well. This is a double individual pursuit.
We love time trials at BMC. We've just won the team time trial at the Giro del Trentino. It has been a great confidence booster for us prior to the equivalent effort in Verona on stage 4. But it doesn't guarantee us to win again at the Giro. The distance is different and the participants as well. With all respect I have for all the contenders of the Giro del Trentino, the consistency of the teams at the Giro d'Italia is of a higher level. On paper, besides us, Sky, GreenEdge, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Garmin-Barracuda are the strongest for the team time trial.
This design of the route reminds me so much of the 2010 Giro d'Italia that started from the Netherlands. It's like a tracing paper: prologue to start and team time trial after transferring to Italy. I went well two years ago [ninth overall]. During the final week of the Giro, I'd like to try and get a spot in the top ten again. It's going to be a test over my come-back from injury. Overall rankings come naturally. I wasn't part of the breakaway to L'Aquila on stage 11 two years ago. I want to come out of this Giro with a good condition.
It's London calling.