Danish rider Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) is leading the young Rabobank team in this year's Giro d'Italia, although he is keeping his GC ambitions fairly modest in light of the Tour de France in a couple of months. Nevertheless, the Rasmussen is targeting a stage win, even though he will not be in top condition.
"I was ok in the Vuelta a Pais Vascom and at Flèche Wallonne I was able to see the winner crossing the line," wrote Rasmussen in his diary at www.feltet.dk/michaelrasmussen. "So it isn't that bad at all. But I'm not strong enough just to ride out and decide a stage for myself. I can't just make it on my own like two years ago in Spain (stage 7 of the Vuelta a España). My form isn't that good. On the other hand, if you are no threat to the best, you can lean on the luck a bit more. I think I have stand a good chance of winning a stage in the Giro although I'm not 100%."
With his ambitions toned down a little Michael Rasmussen hasn't reconnoitred the hardest stages prior to the race. "If I would have gone for the overall classification, I would probably have been out riding them all. My attitude towards the race would have been different. For me, the Giro starts after two weeks. On my behalf it is all about avoiding getting into trouble during the first two weeks."
Unlike many people, Rasmussen isn't sure that the winner of this year's Giro d´Italia will be either Damiano Cunego or Ivan Basso, and warns against underestimating the competition from the others. "Cunego isn't the biggest favourite to me since the quality is much higher this year compared to last year," wrote Rasmussen. "Garzelli met up last year and came 8th, but later he said that if he had started in the same shape as at the Vuelta where he was 11th, he would have been second in the Giro. Now, it is a Pro Tour race and most of the riders start with ambitions to do something. You can see it on Liberty Seguros, who start with Scarponi."
As for Basso, Rasmussen writes, "You have to be at 100%, and perhaps he still has the Tour a bit in the back of his head. At the moment he doesn't look as sharp as last year. But then, last year he also turned on a plate. At that time I rode the back out of him at Dauphiné and three weeks later he practically didn't touch the asphalt in the Tour."
Former winners Gilberto Simoni, Stefano Garzelli and Paolo Savoldelli are Rasmussen's tips for the Giro win.