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Much talk has been made of Floyd Landis’ chances of winning this year’s Tour de France but before...
Much talk has been made of Floyd Landis’ chances of winning this year’s Tour de France but before then, the Phonak team are seeking a strong performance in the Giro d’Italia. Their GC rider in Italy is the affable Colombian Victor Hugo Peña, who won a stage in this race back in 2000 and finished 15th overall. Cyclingnews’ Shane Stokes spoke to Peña about last year, the team, plus his goals for the Giro and the Tour.
During his time riding for Lance Armstrong on the US Postal team, the high point of Peña's career came in the form of the Tour de France yellow jersey, which he wore on his 29th birthday in 2003. Following another season at US Postal the Colombian decided it was time for a change, and moved to Phonak for the 2005 season.
Peña’s targeting of a strong ride in the Giro follows encouraging performances at the end of last year. In April 2005 he fell heavily in Paris-Roubaix and fractured his seventh vertebra, taking two months to recover before getting back on the bike and riding the Vuelta with just a month of racing in his legs.
The injury meant that he was under-prepared, but nevertheless he performed solidly, slipping into several good breakaways and taking sixth and seventh places in the two long time trials. His efforts saw him go into the final stage 23rd overall. Despite a crash which saw him break a rib [and slip down five places in the general classification], he rode the world championship time trial less than a week later, finishing 10th.
Nearly eight months later, he’s had a much smoother buildup to his latest grand tour, the Giro, and heading into the race keen to explore his potential. He’s the clear leader of the team and will have full team support during the race, something which he hopes will help him achieve a top ten finish on general classification.
Click here for the full interview.