Garmin-Cervélo top man vows to give all at Italian Grand Tour
Garmin-Cervélo's leader for the overall classification at the Giro d'Italia, Christophe Le Mével, is looking forward to three weeks of hard racing through Italy, starting on May 7. With a solid showing at the Ardennes Classics, where he finished ninth at the Flèche Wallonne, the Frenchman proved that his form is peaking just in time for the Italian Grand Tour.
"I felt confident [in my level of form] in training already, and then I wanted to test myself [at the Ardennes Classics]," Le Mével told Velochrono. "I was in very good shape at the Flèche Wallonne. It's reassuring. Now, there are a bit more than two weeks left and I will try to work out well again this week. Then, the final week before the start will serve to recover."
The 30-year-old has opted not to race the Tour de Romandie in order to spare his energy for the Giro, which he rates as extremely hard this year. "I decided not to ride this race because, looking at the parcours of the Giro, I don't think it would have been a good idea. It would have created a lot of fatigue. You need to be fresh for these three weeks.
"It will be a difficult Giro," he continued. "Very difficult. I again looked at the stage profiles not long ago: some are very long, some very, very difficult. And not a lot of stages to recover. For all the guys aiming at the general classification, it will be hard. The gaps will be counted in minutes. There are a lot of summit finishes..."
Le Mével, who finished tenth in the 2009 Tour de France, believes that there might be a lot of twists and turns in the race for the pink jersey because of its challenging route. "You'll have to get stuck in every day. Give the maximum, every single day. Even if you lose several minutes on one stage, it can be the contrary on the next. You'll have to never give up."
The riders contesting the podium places, according to the Frenchman, will be known by the second rest day in the beginning of the final week. "That's when we'll have the guys for the top five," he assessed. "After that, you'll have to hang on until the end. There will still be the stage with the Colle del Finestre [the penultimate stage on Saturday - ed.] and the final time trial..."
With six high mountain and eight medium mountain stages on the menu, the 2011 Giro is particularly suited for the pure climbers this year and the Frenchman is confident his goal of a top ten placing can be achieved. "If you're able to do something once, you can do it twice. I already finished tenth in the Tour and 15th in the Vuelta, without really targeting the GC."
Le Mével also revealed the identity of four of his teammates for the Giro. "Daniel Martin will not be there because of his allergies. There will be David Millar, Tyler Farrar, Matthew Wilson, Brett Lancaster. As to the rest, it will be decided after the Tour de Romandie."
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