By Hernan Alvarez Macias
Current Vuelta a España leader Roberto Heras thinks he can get in the list of candidates for the stage win tomorrow at the time trial in Lloret de Mar. "It's an important stage with a very demanding and hard route," said Heras to the press. He considers both Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Carlos Sastre (CSC) can prevail in the stage, but he insisted he can also be one of the favourites.
Looking back on yesterday, the six bonus seconds Heras scored weren't intended to be a cushion for tomorrow. "We hadn't prepared anything", said Heras, "But we were in front and Vicioso launched the sprint. They are only 6 seconds and I do not believe that they are very important for Sunday's time trial, but we had the opportunity and took advantage of it."
His sports director, 'almighty' Manolo Saiz noted that his decision to make Heras take the sprint bonus was taken, "above all, for its psychological reasons." As for tomorrow's time trial, Saiz knows that he might have to see the overall lead slip away, but he's not too concerned about it. "Roberto is doing very well, but the time differences are still very small", said Saiz. "One must forget that Roberto already did one good time trial last year in Almusafes, on a parcours more difficult than this one."
Heras added that the time trial parcours was "not suitable for the specialists, because it has many climbs." He also revealed that he knew the parcours very well, because he trained there often and rode it in the Setmana Catalana. "Sastre and Menchov should do well as this course favours them, but also Mancebo, who's getting stronger every day," Heras concluded.
Meanwhile, Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) hopes he can recover the lost time during the first day of the race riding against the clock on Sunday. "I hope to recover fast from the last few days of suffering and I will try to amend what we have lost so far," said the Basque rider to the media. He explained that the worst thing about the echelons he got in was not the time lost itself, but the big effort he had to make to reach the finish line quickly. The 'TerminAitor' hopes to get in the big battle for the time trial and he includes himself as well as Menchov in the list of favourites.