Denis Menchov of Rabobank is going into the Vuelta a Espana with the intention of winning the race for the third time. “I'm not tired mentally and physically I'm fine. I'm going with the intention of winning, but it is never easy.“
Interviewed by the Spanish website AS.com, the 32-year-old said that he is looking to be strong at the end of the three-week race. “I think the race will be decided in the end, at the Andorra stage and, above all, in the block of Asturias stages and the time trials. That's where we should be strong.”
His toughest rivals may be Andy and Fränk Schleck of Team Saxo Bank. “On reputation they appear to be the most dangerous. But they have to prove it.”
Menchov finished third in the Tour de France this year and won the Giro d'Italia in 2009, while he has already won the Vuelta twice. “Yes I have always done well here. I do not know why. In the mountains it is as hard as the Tour and Giro. I know the Spanish roads better, but like in the Tour there are also some unknown areas every year. Perhaps it's that I feel better in September, I don't know.”
The Russian, who next year will ride for Team Geox, also went into the Tour with the aim of winning. “And I was not far away. I gambled on making up time in the last time trial.” Menchov had been fourth overall going into the penultimate stage time trial, 21 seconds behind Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez. He took two minutes out of the Basque rider, moving on to the podium.
“Overall, I have to be happy with my performance,” he concluded.