By Shane Stokes
Garmin-Slipstream's Tom Danielson is feeling upbeat heading into the new season, and will get his racing programme underway in the upcoming Tour of California.
The 30-year-old American rider won a stage in the 2006 Tour of Spain but has not reached that form since, with illness and injury interrupting this progress. However he said that his preparations have gone well and he is optimistic about the year ahead.
"I had really good training over the winter, which has been a nice contrast to last year," he told Cyclingnews on Wednesday. "In November we had great weather here in Boulder. Then I spent most of December and the first week of January with my wife Steph in Hawaii. We split our time between Maui and Oahu and I can definitely say that is the best winter riding I have ever experienced; the climbing was just incredible."
Having got a solid base, he said that he honed his form with his argyle-wearing teammates. "After that I was off to Silver City, New Mexico, for the Garmin-Slipstream training camp. I went a week early with Christian Vande Velde and then did the 15-day training camp with the team. I am happy with the amount of work I was able to put in this winter, and I feel my form is good for this time of year."
Danielson had a disappointment last season when he was left off the team for the Tour de France. He later showed improving form when he finished fifth in the Tour of Missouri, and has been working closely with team owner Jonathan Vaughters since then in order to reach his full potential.
One recommendation by Vaughters was for Danielson to temporarily take in fewer carbohydrates in order to train his body to burn fat with greater efficiency. This initially led to hunger knock problems on long training rides, but Danielson said that this and other measures are now paying off.
"JV is a very smart guy and I have to say his ideas for my training have been phenomenal," he enthused. "I have been very focused and attentive to detail with his ideas and it has been working out great."
Danielson will begin racing on February 14th in the Tour of California, a race he finished eighth overall in back in 2006. He will then compete in the Vuelta a Murcia, the Vuelta Castilla y León, and the Vuelta País Vasco.
"That will lead me up nicely to the Giro and then I hope to come out of the Giro strong and ready for the Tour," he said. "I'll be targeting each of those races. My goal is to be a big part of every race, whether it is helping my team win or going for it myself."