Tour de Georgia pre-race favourite Tom Danielson has returned in an attempt to claim an overall victory that eluded him last year. This season he put forth a tremendous effort for his team-mate Levi Leipheimer to win the Tour of California. However, Danielson told Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins that the torch is in his hands this week.
Levi Leipheimer was undoubtedly Discovery Channel's outright leader at the Tour of California this past February. The team displayed an impressive amount of work to retain the yellow jersey from stage one through the finale, controlling the front of the peloton day in, day out.
This week, Discovery has decided to shift the focus from Leipheimer to Danielson with as much determination behind winning the race overall. Danielson won the event in 2005 and placed second to Floyd Landis last year. Since then he has been focused on the overall win and wants to take the opportunity to graciously provide it for his team who will be working in his support.
"Here at the Tour de Georgia I have been given the opportunity to start in a good position to race for the overall with a fantastic team behind me," smiled Danielson, while kicking back in the lobby of the race hotel. "It is based on my past [performance] because I have had a good record in the Tour of Georgia and the characteristics of the course suit me really well. Plus I just love this race and it has been a big goal of mine since the beginning of the year and the team is motivated with me on this goal."
However, Danielson did admit that Leipheimer is the overall team captain when it comes to calling the shots out on the road. "Obviously Levi is a very strong rider and more of a true captain when it comes to experience and race tactics, as do many of the others on this team. They will all be running the show out there and hopefully I can come through with my legs."
Read the full interview with Tom Danielson.