Xavier Florencio sprung a surprise on everyone when he won the Clasica San Sebastian, one of the toughest single-day races on the ProTour calendar. Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez Macias caught up with Florencio in his Malaga team hotel two days before the start of the Vuelta a España, the third and last of the grand tours for 2006.
Xavier Florencio was an unknown rider to most cycling fans until August 12. On that day he won the Clasica San Sebastian and surprised many people and also himself. He didn't exactly have a big list of highlights on his palmares before his San Sebastian win. His career highlights were a stage victory in the 2002 Tour de l'Avenir and his 18th place in the 2004 Tour of Flanders. At 26 years old he might find his big win marks the perfect moment to make the jump to mix it with the elite riders of cycling.
Florencio considers himself a cyclist suitable for the classics and other short races. The Spanish rider from Mont-roig del Camp, Tarragona has the ability to follow in the steps of Oscar Freire, Igor Astarloa and other great Spanish riders who shine at one-day races.
Asked about how he felt 48 hours before the beginning of the Vuelta a España he said, "After the classic [San Sebastian] I have a bit of uncertainty [about my form]. I hope to have the same fit condition that I had two weeks ago. It was difficult to keep in the same shape and I will try to win a stage. [To win] the general classification is very difficult, so I will try to be at the front on a stage." Florencio has not marked out a suitable Vuelta stage to attack. "I don't know yet," he said. "It depends on the physical condition that I am in and on how my legs go. I have to try to be at the front on some stage and make the most of the opportunity of being with the top players."
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