Roberts uses the force

Cyclingnews Anthony Tan caught up with CSC's Luke Roberts minutes after he set the early fastest...

Cyclingnews Anthony Tan caught up with CSC's Luke Roberts minutes after he set the early fastest time of 1h15'33, his time 21 seconds faster than Fassa Bortolo rider Fabian Cancellara, who will joining him at CSC next season. It was eventually good enough for 17th on the day.

The 28 year-old hadn't ridden the course until today, but judging by his time, you wouldn't have known it. "Bjarne [Riis] drove 'round it last night and took some notes; I had a radio in and was going on what he was telling me," Roberts said. "I just had to trust him on a few of the corners - some of them he said you can take it full gas, and I was thinking, 'You reckon?!'

"I knew I had pretty good legs at the start of the race, so I wanted to go hard today, I didn't want to roll around. Tomorrow's the last day, so no point going home tomorrow night with anything left in the tank," he said.

Roberts' objective was to give his manager Bjarne Riis some time splits for team leader Ivan Basso, other than those provided by the race organisation, but the Australian added he wasn't under a great deal of pressure today. "I could've taken it easy if I wanted to; I joked to Bjarne I wanted to finish in the top 100 on GC," he said with a grin. "I was 106th at the start of the day, so I needed to take six minutes out of some guys to make it."

Quizzed on the difficulty of the parcours, Roberts said that climbs weren't overly difficult, but mentioned was important to maintain a steady tempo in order to really go for it on the other parts of the course. So does he think it's a course that will see Der Jan on der podium?

"Yeah, for sure," he said without hesitation. "The course does get pretty tough, and on some of the earlier parts, it feels like you're going up the whole time. So someone who's got good legs can go a lot quicker than someone who might struggle on it."

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