2006 Tour de France winner at Giro d’Italia after mountain bike event in Morocco
Oscar Pereiro is back in the world of cycling less than ten months after taking part in his last professional race, the Tour of Poland, with Astana last year. He arrived at the Giro d’Italia on Monday to give comments on Spanish radio COPE.
"I’ve signed a three years contract with COPE for the three Grand Tours", the winner of the 2006 Tour de France told Cyclingnews in Morbegno. Pereiro missed the first two weeks of the Giro because he was busy racing the Titan Desert, a mountain bike race in Morocco that has been contested in the past by former road champions Claudio Chiappucci, Laurent Jalabert and Abraham Olano.
"There were about 500 participants and we did 600 kilometres in six days", Pereiro informed. "I won a stage and [former Vuelta winner] Roberto Heras won the overall classification."
Pereiro, 34, acknowledged that he still rides his bike once or twice a week but struggles muscularly because cycling has become hardly compatible with the new sport he took up in December: football. "I play for Coruxo, a team of Second Division B", said the Spaniard. "That’s the sport I was doing when I was a kid. I play as left winger. I’m happy with what I’m doing now. I want to stay fit."
Pereiro also gave his thoughts on the status of the Giro in world cycling.
"The biggest race in the world remains the Tour de France because all the best riders on form do it very competitively", he said. "But for the spectacle, the Giro is more attractive. This has been a good one for Spanish riders so far but there is a huge difference between Alberto Contador and the other riders. The best cycling is when the leaders of general classification are separated by no more than thirty seconds. Here, there’s only a fight for second place."
"I truly hope that Alberto and Andy Schleck will both be racing the Tour de France this year", Pereiro continued. "It looks like Alberto is back at the level of condition he had in 2009. He’s doing the Giro at 100%, he doesn’t even think of the Tour [at the moment]. He wanted to do this race now to remind to everyone that he’s the best rider in the world."