Brit Roger Hammond is looking forward to the opportunity to help Cervélo TestTeam in his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España, August 29 to September 20. He believes that it will allow him a chance for a stage win and to prepare for the end of the season's classics.
Hammond will first race the Tour of Ireland this week, August 21 to 23, before starting the three-week Vuelta.
"I would like to help Philip Deignan win at home at the Tour of Ireland. I know what it means having won stages in the Tour of Britain," Hammond told Cyclingnews. "Assuming I race the Vuelta, it will be the same, I would like to help [José Angel Gomez] Marchante and have the opportunity to win a stage."
Hammond has ridden with various teams, including Discovery Channel and T-Mobile before joining Cervélo this year. He has raced several shorter stage races, but never a three-week race. Cervélo selected him today as part of the long-list of 11 riders for the Vuelta.
"The Vuelta can either kill you or set you up for a good season finale. I am realistic about winning, in the Tour of Denmark it was better for me to ride flat out for the classification and help Jeremy Hunt for the stage win."
Hammond was in an escape in stage four with Hunt and gained enough time to move from 19th to third in overall classification. He maintained the spot over the next two stages.
He believes the Vuelta will give him the training needed to support team Great Britain in the World Championships, September 27.
"For the first time in my career we have nine riders at the Worlds. It will be nice to go to the Worlds when you actually have realistic opportunities. You can change the face of the race, with three or five rides you can't do that. When things get out of control you can re-direct the race back towards your favour."
Hammond said Bradley Wiggins is the team's best hope on the tough Mendrisio, Switzerland, circuit. The race has two climbs in the 13.8-kilometre circuit repeated 19 times.
After Worlds, he wants a win in one of the fall classics, Paris-Bourges or Paris-Tours.
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