By Shane Stokes in Palermo
Although 2007 Vuelta a España victor Denis Menchov admitted that the Tour de France is his number one season goal, the Russian stated that victory in the Giro d'Italia was important to him if the form is there.
"As a team, we have to do two big tours," he told journalists on Friday. "I will do the Giro and Tour de France. My big goal is to be at the Tour de France with 100 percent form as it is more important for me and for the team.
"But I hope to well in the Giro. The target is to do well in the overall classification. It is not a target for me to win a stage, but rather to see what I can do on a three-week stage race in this condition."
With a blend of hard mountains and some time trialing kilometres, some see Menchov as having the characteristics necessary to take the final victory. Nominating Danilo di Luca, Andreas Klöden and Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval Scott) as his main favourites, he said that his own chances would not depend on the course, but rather his legs. "The condition is more important. If you have good legs, you can ride well on all courses. If the form is not there, it is very hard.
"Beating Di Luca will be very difficult. You need to have more luck and to be very strong."
The Russian also gave his tips for the opening team time trial: "For tomorrow, I think Astana, LPR, Tinkoff, Caisse d'Epargne, and maybe Slipstream will be the ones to watch," he said.