Vuelta breakaway tests Australian sprinter's legs
Allan Davis has yet to claim his first victory of the 2010 season, isn't concerned if his only win of the year is the world championship in Geelong on October 3rd.
At the start of stage 13 in Rincon de Soto, the Queenslander told Cyclingnews that he was hoping for a bunch sprint following his top ten placing (7th) in Lleida the day before, but he was prompt to break away instead when the move of the day was formed after fifty kilometres. He knew his family was awaiting him at the finish in Burgos, which is the closest venue of the Vuelta to his European house in the Basque country.
Davis's breakaway was caught with 5km to go, leaving him over two minutes behind in the high-speed dash to the line, but he did manage to take the day's first mountain prime, the Alto de Pradilla. More importantly, the efforts he produces on Spanish roads are an investment in his form for the upcoming world championships.
Davis is one of the potential captains for the Australian national team when the Worlds takes place on its home turf. "As far as the world championship is concerned, everything is going according to the plan," the Astana rider said. "I'm just picking my days in the Vuelta and I'm recovering the best I can. The Worlds have definitely been my objective all year. Here, Gossy (Matt Goss) is riding really good, so we're ready to give our country a great shot."
Two other Australians were seriously preparing for the Worlds at the Vuelta, but Simon Gerrans was out of the race after seven stages with his whole Sky team pulling out due to the death of their masseur Txema Gonzalez. Stuart O'Grady was sent home for disciplinary reasons by Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis after nine stages. They now have to compensate the race rhythm by intense training.
"The Worlds after 260 kilometres of racing is a totally different story than a sprint in a stage race after 180km," Davis noted. "I definitely prefer long races like Milan-San Remo and the Worlds. It has always been like that in my whole career. In normal sprints, there are bigger, more powerful sprinters than me."
The Vuelta is Davis' first Grand Tour this year following his omission from the Astana team at the Tour de France. "I was a little bit disappointed, but for the Worlds, it's the best thing that I haven't done the Tour this year. In Australia, there weren't many races televised when I was a kid, so I miss the Tour, but I'm just 30 and I have plenty more years to ride the Tour de France."
"For the Worlds, I'm not going to ask for any responsibilities inside the Australian team," he said. "Everyone is a professional in that team. Responsibilities will come throughout the race. I'm concentrating on myself to get there in the best shape."
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