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Horrach aiming at final week

By:
Jeff Jones, Bikeradar.com
Published:
May 18, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:31 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News for May 18, 2006
Caisse d'Epargne on the front

Caisse d'Epargne on the front

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Caisse d'Epargne's Joan Horrach spent the rest day training and recovering from his efforts in stage...

Caisse d'Epargne's Joan Horrach spent the rest day training and recovering from his efforts in stage 10, where he made the breakaway and finished 10th. He currently sits 37th overall, 10'27 behind the leader.

Was the first part of the Giro an easy one as everybody expected it to be? "I am sure many people will say the Giro will really begin after the second rest day, but I don't agree with that as we already had to go through some very hard stages," he said. "Moreover the way the race has been planned is a little bit strange too. After an easy start in Belgium with flat stages - except the third one that ended with a short climb - the first rest day came immediately. Not even one rider needed a rest day at that time! After that came the team time trial and two first stages in the mountains. The next ones didn't seem to be so hard when you looked at the programme but because of the heat, many riders really suffered there. So I can tell you the first part of the race was not easy at all!"

Does the second part of the Giro frighten you? "I am not afraid, no, but the Giro will be harder than the previous ones, that's a fact. I participated last year and when I compare both the editions, it seems that this year all the difficulties are at least two times harder than they were last year. We shall have to take it easy during the first mountain stages, otherwise too many riders will not arrive within the time limits or will even give up the race.

"Personally I prefer the mountain stages rather than the flat ones because on the flat you most of all need strength and you also have to be attentive all the time while being in the middle of the bunch. In the mountain stages, once you know how you feel, you immediately know where your place is and you can just stay there. If you are in great shape you will be in front, of course! Otherwise you can quietly remain in the middle of the bunch or...a little bit behind! Moreover, you are not under pressure the same way in the mountains than you are in the flat stages, where it is sometimes so difficult to avoid the crashes. But on the other hand, even if I liked the mountain stages, what the organizers propose in the current edition is really exaggerated and I think that considering the fact that many riders are not climbers at all, not many of us will arrive in Milan.

How is your condition at this stage. "I feel very good. Also, I always feel better during the third week than in the first two. I hope to keep the same shape for a few more days to be 100 percent in the final week."

Together with Mikel Pradera you are one of the most experienced riders of the team. What is your role with the younger riders? "It is true than I am almost the oldest, but this is only my second participation in the Giro. I don't have a special role to play with the young riders, but I always do my best to encourage them before a difficult stage, so that all of them can finish the race and celebrate in Milan. Of course, if we win a stage before reaching Milan, it will be perfect. I don't think I am the right person to advise the other ones but there is something I explained to them: the fact that the Giro is a very long race, that it lasts 21 days and that the final part will be a very hard one. As a consequence when you have no longer an interest to do well in the overall ranking, you'd batter take it easy during some more difficult stages if you want to reach Milan."

How do you consider their future? "I think that Erviti and Carrasco has a great future. But we have to give them time."

Is the team time trial no more than a bad souvenir or are you still thinking about that? "Personally I don't think we got such a bad result! I know some other riders of the team and the team manager himself don't agree with that, but I think our result was not bad at all. We finished only thirteen seconds behind the fifth team! It is not so much time! Especially if you consider the fact that we started rather slowly in order that all the riders could stay on the wheels. What happened is that we were almost sure to realize something big, and as we failed the disappointment was out of proportion. But that already belongs to the past. We have to look at what is expected of us in the remaining stages!"

Yesterday the stage win was very close. "Yes, and it is really a pity because the team was so strong, but that's the way races are. Of course, we will keep on attacking in the following stages. Iván Gutiérrez is the only one who is still between the first twenty in the overall ranking, but all the others will have to go with all the breaks and try and try again. But it will not be easy because the number of remaining stages is not so many, and we are not the only ones who desire to win one of them."

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