At the 2006 Giro d'Italia, the phrase 'all for one and one for all' may apply to teams like CSC and Discovery Channel with outright leaders, but for Dutch squad Rabobank, it's quite the reverse, with virtually every one of their nine riders entering the first Grand Tour of the year for different reasons. On an unusually warm Thursday afternoon in Maastricht, Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan went to the team's hotel and spoke with three of their riders - Michael Rasmussen, Mathew Hayman and Graeme Brown - as well as first assistant directeur-sportif for the Giro, Frans Maassen.
So far this season, last year's Tour de France mountains winner hasn't posted a single result of note. And he isn't intending to change the situation anytime soon, either.
"My team-mates, they don't have any problems with it at all; they know why I'm here," says Rasmussen.
"I'll do my share of the job, but at the same time, they know they can't expect anything from me - and I don't expect anything from them, either. I'm not a protected rider here, and I have to take care of myself, like everybody else except for [Mauricio] Ardila; for the rest, they have to see if they can get in the breakaways or win a stage in the next three weeks."
The 31 year-old Dane spent part of the winter working on improving his time trialing position in the velodrome, and only two days ago in Apeldoorn, underwent wind-tunnel testing. Memories of what happened to him on that Saturday in Saint-Etienne are hard to forget, and most likely hardest for Rasmussen. But who'd dare ask him again, when he's been asked a thousand times already?
As for the results of his modified position, the best test will be on Thursday, May 18 in Pontedera, where a 50 kilometre flat-as-a-tack time test awaits. [Cyclingnews will also feature Rasmussen's TT bike in the coming days - ed.]
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