Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC) was a satisfied man after he finished the Giro d’Italia’s mountain time trial in seventh place. The Russian has continued to improve his position on GC despite losing more time to race leader Alberto Contador. Menchov, who now sits in seventh place in the general classification, is only 20 seconds behind current fifth place Jose Rujano, and is confident that he can improve further going into the third and final week.
"Two or three riders are really strong in this race", Menchov told Cyclingnews in reference to Alberto Contador, Michele Scarponi and Vincenzo Nibali who dominate the top three.
"So I don’t dream of finishing on the podium but I still want the highest possible ranking in Milan."
At last year’s Tour de France, Menchov was also pretty quiet in the early mountain stages but moved up to third overall after riding one of the best time trial’s of his life from Bordeaux to Pauillac. The third week always seems to play into the Russian's hands and Menchov hopes that this year will be no different.
"I had some serious allergy problems - in Sicily, and at the end of the first week", the Russian said, adding that he was confident that those problems were now behind him.
"After the race entered Austria, I’ve felt better and better every day," he said. "I’m now taking the Giro day by day."
The Russian is hoping to use his improved condition to go for a stage in the next week, and has already pinpointed the possibility of doing something on Stage 20.
"The last week of this race is always hard...We’ll see what happens. It’s always good to win something. I think the Sestrières is an interesting one, but we’ll have to see," Menchov hinted.
Considering Geox-TMC failed to get an invitation to the Tour de France, if the Russian is unable to get a win before the Giro finishes in Milan he may well have to wait till August and the Vuelta for another chance at top honours.
The Giro d’Italia continues on Wednesday with 230 km stage to Tirano.