By Antonio J. Salmerón
Tour runner-up Óscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) is satisfied with his form after returning to racing in the Clásica de Los Puertos on Sunday. "I was better than I hoped. I do not have the suitable rate of competition, but I looked after myself well and I finished without any problems," he told Spanish sport newspaper, As.
"I have tried to follow my training routine as well as I can. I have been training for three hours [a day], a little less than usual," Pereiro said.
"I am very tired, mainly psychologically, due to all has happened to me [after the Tour]. But, the form of the Tour is not lost in a month, so I hope to be again among the best riders in the Vuelta."
Pereiro is yet to be formally crowned Tour champion after winner Floyd Landis returned a positive drug test, but he already considers himself the winner. "Yes [I see myself as the rightful winner], but I am really hurt by the Floyd Landis affair, because he is my friend," he said.
Pereiro said that he is happy to ride for Valverde in the Vuelta. "Evidently we both want to aspire to win the Vuelta. What I want is to arrive as fresh as possible at the last week to obtain a satisfactory individual classification…. Valverde is more fresh than me for the Vuelta; If I have to work hard for him, I will do."
Meanwhile, Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne has confirmed its line-up for the Vuelta. The team is: David Arroyo, Vicente García Acosta, Joan Horrach, Vladimir Karpets, Pablo Lastras, Oscar Pereiro, Joaquín Rodríguez, Alejandro Valverde and Xabier Zandio.