By Bjorn Haake in Ponferrada
The sunny and warm start area at the ocean in Cudillero for the 15th stage of the Vuelta a España had many riders thinking of a well-deserved break at the beach. But Liquigas's Enrico Franzoi's thoughts were further ahead, already thinking about his beloved cyclo-cross racing.
"For me the Vuelta is very important for my cyclo-cross training. It is good preparation for my first races and of course it is very important for me to prepare for the World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands," he explained.
Franzoi has the freedom within his Liquigas team to try and get himself in a break during the Vuelta, but admitted that it may be difficult. "Everybody wants to get into a break," but assured Cyclingnews he will try every stage.
Franzoi is using the Vuelta to prepare himself for the modern speeds of cyclo-cross which has seen an increase in average speeds in the past few years. "Today, cyclo-cross is very technical and very fast," he explained.
Franzoi even found the Angliru beneficial for the upcoming season even if many of the other riders liken it more to mountain biking that road racing or cyclo-cross. "It is a very tough mountain and it is difficult to find your rhythm."
Franzoi’s winter season will begin on October 11 in the traditional home of cyclo-cross, Belgium. "My first race will be in Dottignies, in Wallonnie." He will follow this up the following day with the opening round of the Superprestige in Ruddervoorde before taking a break.
"I take a little break after Ruddervoorde to get married," he explained. "I will return in November." He then plans to do all the World Cup and Superprestige races.
The cyclo-cross world championships will take place from January 31 to February 1.