Having just completed one of the most difficult editions of the Dauphiné Libéré in a long time, young Australian Classics and sprint star Allan Davis is quietly preparing his body and mind for his second Tour de France participation, having made his debut in 2004.
Along with 53 other riders, Davis abandoned the final stage of the French stage race from Morzine to Sallanches yesterday, won by Discovery Channel's George Hincapie, and admitted he's found the going a little tougher than expected.
"Yeah, the legs were a bit sore, mate, to tell you the truth; I felt like I'd just been run over by a truck!" he laughed to Cyclingnews at the Sunday afternoon start in Morzine. "But I've been recovering well during the night, so I'm happy - one day at a time. I'll get through this race in pretty good nick [condition], and that's what I was hoping to do."
On his thoughts as to whether the race has provided a solid indication of what to expect in less than a month's time, and for three weeks straight, Davis replied: "Yeah, it's been a pretty good race for that; the mountain stages... actually, the whole week's been quite hard, simulated Tour stages really!"
As to how the rest of the riders on his team have fared over the course of the week, with team leader Roberto Heras expected to go better but didn't, and not one Liberty Seguros rider finishing the race, Davis provided a diplomatic answer: "It's been a good learning curve to see where people are at, and how everyone's climbing.
"Most of the guys are keeping the Tour de France in mind, so we're happy with the way things are going. I've come here with a lot of training under my belt, and came here to get some good race form. Yeah, I'm pretty happy with the way the week's gone," he said.
Having based himself and his family in Spain since joining Manolo Saiz's team in 2003 and riding loads of Spanish races with riders from the area, was he surprised with Iñigo Landaluze's performance over the last few days of the Dauphiné, which saw the Euskaltel rider claim the biggest win of his career?
"No, not really surprised. Last year, he nearly won a stage of the Tour, but just got caught at the line. But he's rode well and smart, so good on him. It'll be hard for someone to knock him off; yeah, I think he's in with a good chance," said Davis, his prediction turning out to be spot-on.
As for his Tour participation, like most teams, Liberty will announce its final nine at the eleventh hour, but Alby feels that with three stage wins (two at the Vuelta a Murcia, one at the Vuelta a Aragon) and five second places so far this year, he's in with a good shot.
"It hasn't been confirmed as yet, but I'm pretty sure of a spot. I'll probably find out a week before I go!" he chuckled nervously. "But at the moment, I've been doing what I can and training as if I am going [to the Tour de France]."