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Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas)
Liquigas rider refocuses his Tour objectives on polka dots
Franco Pellizotti is looking to bring some of the success he enjoyed in this year's Giro d'Italia to his Tour de France with his aim on the polka dot climber's jersey. The Liquigas rider finished third overall in the Giro in May, but currently sits 49th in the Tour, nearly 16 minutes behind the yellow jersey - most of that time having been lost on one bad day in the Pyrenees on stage 8.
While his hopes for a high finish in the overall classification at the Tour are over, Pellizotti has refocused his efforts on a stage win and the mountains jersey. "I want to escape and win one of the stages in the Alps. Those have a lot of mountain points and are beautiful days," he told Cyclingnews.
Pellizotti is third overall in the mountains classification, 23 points behind Egoi Martínez. He took the majority of those points after an escape in Sunday's stage to Tarbes, which covered Col d'Aspin and Col du Tourmalet. He narrowly lost the stage to escape companion Pierrick Fédrigo.
Pellizotti made his intentions clear today when he sprinted for mountain points on the category four Côte de Perreuse. He earned only one point because there was a two-man escape that took the maximum points.
"Staying protected or making the sprint for third on a small mountain is the same. I missed the points on the first one because I hit my head in a crash. It caused me to misread the sign leading to the climb.
"I will try on all of the mountains, even a single point could be decisive."
Pellizotti believes his best opportunity of making an escape is Friday's stage to Colmar or Tuesday's stage to Bourg-St-Maurice. Both stages feature high mountains that award greater points.
"I have to try to win a stage from an escape, like the other day to Tarbes. If I wait for the finish I am there with the favourites who are battling for the Tour de France, it is too difficult to stay with them."
Should Pellizotti succeed in taking home the final prize for the best climber in the Tour, he would be the first Italian to do so since Claudio Chiappucci in 1992.