After what was a disappointing Tour de France for Rabobank's Denis Menchov who had aimed for a top five placing but finished only 85th, the Russian rider has found his form again at last Saturday's Clásica San Sebastian. Mingling with the top group in the race finish, Menchov got dropped only with ten kilometres to go and led the chase to the race favourites, finishing 43 seconds down. "I felt good and it's a shame that I didn't win," he told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. "But I'm glad that my form is back after my problems at the Tour."
Menchov, who won the 2003 Tour de France Best young rider jersey, is now looking forward to the Vuelta a España. "What I've shown [at the Clásica San Sebastian] is good for my self-confidence," the 27 year-old said. "I can't deny that I was feeling down after the Tour. That's why I wanted to be good in San Sebastian, also to see where I stand with a view to the Vuelta. But I'm not going to make any predictions anymore. We'll see how far I get, but I feel like I'm ready for the Vuelta."
Erik Breukink, Rabobank's team director, is also impressed with the Russian's recent performance in Spain. "I have to admit that I didn't think he would ride that well," Breukink said. "He was the strongest rider in the field. Menchov needs that kind of confirmation to do well - it's a good sign for the Vuelta." As to the rider's objectives at the Grand Tour, Breukink remained reasonable. "He may focus on some stages, and then we'll see where he stands in the classification."