American Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream) has already experienced his fair share of bad luck this season. Speaking to Cyclingnews the day before finishing the Giro d'Italia in 78th place, Danielson hoped to have turned the corner in what has been a disrupted season.
"It was okay, but it was a difficult stage for sure," said Danielson of the Giro's stage 19 finish atop Mount Vesuvius. "All day it was really up and down and along the coast, it was quite stressful with a lot of fighting for positions. Really, the whole peloton had to ride hard for most of the day. The last climb was obviously very challenging, a big climb pretty steep in sections and pretty unforgiving, so I was happy, I went up steady."
Danielson admitted that he was lucky to be included in the Garmin-Slipstream team for the Italian race, having been struck down by a parasitic infection in April. "I got behind a little bit," he said. "I got quite sick with giardia. I was supposed to do País Vasco, but I got sick there so obviously I fell behind in my preparation. I was fortunate enough that the team took me to the race here even though I wasn't 100 percent."
The American thus focused on working for his team and rebuilding his form. "I worked hard for the team," he continued. "I gave my all in the team time trial and then I gave my all in the sprint stages for Tyler [Farrar], so I was just really happy to be here doing that stuff. At the end of the race I was told I could go up the climbs a little bit faster so I just went at my own pace trying to build form for the future."
The Giro d'Italia was a mixed race for Garmin-Slipstream. A narrow loss in the race's opening team time trial to rival American squad Columbia-Highroad and the stage three exit of team leader Christian Vande Velde were contrast with the consistent performances of sprinter Tyler Farrar and a third-place finish for Danny Pate on stage 18.
"The morale is good, it's a great group of guys. Obviously it's disappointing to lose Christian and hopefully he's okay but in terms of the other guys I think everyone's improving. Danny [Pate] did a good performance, he's in a good mood and the staff are in a good mood so the morale's quite high," said Danielson of the feeling amongst the Garmin-Slipstream squad.
His next race will be the Tour de Suisse. The American remains unsure whether his improving form will be enough to secure a place on his team's Tour de France line-up. "I just try to look at it race by race. My next race is the Tour de Suisse. I can't even think about that [the Tour de France] right now," said Danielson.