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Dan Fleeman and his Raleigh team will be hoping to leave a strong impression on their biggest race of the season at the Tour of Britain which starts this weekend. Fleeman is aiming for a place in the top ten while his teammates will be helping their leader as well looking to make it into the breaks.
“I’ve been doing a couple of pro races in Belgium so the form is pretty good and I’ve just been finishing off my training.I want to do as well on GC as I can. I have had top ten before at the race so thats the aim, but so many factors come into play in that race but I’m sure I can do it,” Fleeman told Cyclingnews.
“It’s the biggest race of the season for the team. We’ve done five stages so far as a team and we did one in Portugal and level wise that was quite hard, on par perhaps with the Tour of Britain field with some strong Portuguese riders. The Tour of Britain is more prestigious though with bigger names.”
Fleeman signed with Raleigh at the end of 2009 after his contract with Cervelo TestTeam was not extended. His 2009 season was ruined by injury but in 2010 he has been consistent, finishing in the top 15 in stage races, while also picking up top ten places in the UK road nationals, Rutland and Tour de Pyrenees.
“I’ve been very consistent,” he said. “But I’ve not had any major stand-out results. Perhaps I’ve been a little bit too consistent. In all the stage races I’ve done I’ve been top 15 overall and in the one-day races I’ve been up there.
“After having such a bad year in 2009 I’ve been playing it safe with my training and I’ve not had too many peaks and troughs, so hopefully with this being the biggest goal, I’ve taken a bit more risks with training as it’s more or less season over after the Tour of Britain.”
Fleeman will have face a battle in his aspirations to crack the top ten. The Tour of Britain stages typically finish in bunch sprints, with hard, selective days coming few and far between. However the Raleigh leader has already pinpointed stages that could see the sprinters put on the back foot.
“It’s a very heavy sprint field and that’s a little bit worrying. Last year it was a sprint every day more or less and it’s difficult for a rider like me. What can I do if it’s like that but at least one of the Somerset stages will be really hard.”
“The main objective for the team is to help me but I’d like to see them get in the race and be aggressive. I’ve seen it in the past, and there’s nothing worse than domestic teams who don’t do anything in a race. I was in a break last year and got loads of publicity so I hope we can show what we’re capable off. The sprinters’ teams will try and control things but I can tell you right away that they’ll let a break go every day so there’s a lot of opportunity to show that you’re in the race.”