Michael Rasmussen is eager to start the 2012 season at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January, and not only because he will be able to measure himself against top riders including Alberto Contador.
“I look forward to a duel with Contador and other big names such as Vincenzo Nibali and Joaquim Rodriguez, but I would gladly ride the race even if none of them shows up,” he told ekstrabladet.dk.
Thinking not just of himself, he noted that it would be important for the many young riders on his Christina Watches-Ofone team. “It is rather a great chance to secure our riders a head start in the season. For all riders in Europe it is a preparation race. It's early in the year, so right now it's very, very difficult to predict how it will go.
“But it will undoubtedly be exciting and it becomes a great experience for our team to run such a large race with such big names on the start list.”
It will be his first time up against Contador since the 2007 Tour de France. Rasmussen was leading the race ahead of the Spaniard when his team withdrew him with only four stages to go. Contador went on to win the race for his first Tour title.
“We feel incredibly privileged to have this chance, so for me it's not about getting revenge for the Tour in 2007,” Rasmussen said.
The Dane previous rode the race in 2010 for Miche, finishing eighth overall.