Gutiérrez making late return at Picardie

Spaniard will train at altitude for Tour

Iván Gutiérrez will return to competition at this week’s Tour of Picardie in France, after a long period away from racing due to allergies. The time away from competition leaves the Caisse d’Epargne rider in a race against the clock to be ready for the Tour de France in July.

“The last race in which I participated was the first stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe,” said Gutiérrez. “I had to quit the race because I was suffering too much from allergies which started a few weeks before. Together with my tem we decided that it was not useful to go on like that and that the best thing to do was to rest and recover before starting racing again.”

Gutiérrez isn’t the only rider to suffer from allergies in the early season. Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has struggled in some races due to the issue, while Tour Down Under winner Allan Davis also recently mentioned allergies had been an issue for him.

“Now in great part thanks to the rainy weather of the last days, the allergy is disappearing and I feel rather well. It is time to come back in the bunch,” he said. “I believe my level is now rather acceptable and I hope that my participation in the Tour of Picardie will give me a chance to be confident again and also to recover the good sensations I had at the beginning of the European season in Paris-Nice.”

While the Tour de France is less than two months away Gutiérrez is planning a strong training block to be ready in time for the Grand Tour. The three time Spanish time trial champion, who has also claimed the nation’s road title on one occasion, also listed the national championships as an important goal over coming weeks.

“A soon as the race finishes I will go and train in altitude to prepare the Tour of Switzerland, which will be the final preparation before the Spanish championships and the Tour de France, where I hope to arrive at 100 percent of my condition,” he said.

Picardie starts with a 181 kilometre stage from Boué to Doullens today. The race features three stages, finishing in Sissonne on Sunday.

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