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Seeldraeyers first Belgian in maglia bianca

By:
Gregor Brown
Published:
May 31, 2009, 02:09,
Updated:
June 9, 2009, 12:02

Challenges and challengers overcome as race heads to Rome

Kevin Seeldraeyers is set to become the first Belgian to win the Giro d'Italia's young rider classification when the race finishes Sunday in Rome. He could take the final maglia bianca ('white jersey') of best under-26 rider.

"It almost 100 percent that I will win the jersey," he told Cyclingnews. "I am not so good, but the time trial is flat and it is not long. They say there are a lot of corners and it will be hard to take a lot of time back."

The centennial Giro d'Italia ends with a 14.4-kilometre time trial in the centre of Rome. His lead of 2:11 over Francesco Masciarelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) should see him keep the classification's lead.

Seeldraeyers of team Quick Step took the white jersey of the best young rider from Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia-Highroad) on the Giro's mountain stage to Monte Petrano.

"The hardest stage was to Pinerolo because I had diarrhea. It was a big problem and hard that day, but I wanted to continue for the classification.

"Now it is nice, but in the race it is not so nice sometimes. There was a lot of pain through the three weeks, this Giro was not easy."

After three weeks of racing through Italy, Seeldraeyers will return to Belgium and prepare for the Ster Elektrotoer stage race and the Belgian championships.

"I want to race for the classification in the big tours and small tours, and get more jerseys. It is not so easy, I am not Alberto Contador."

Contador won the young rider classification of the Tour de France in 2007, the same year he won the race's overall classification. He went on to win the 2008 Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España.

The Giro d'Italia began 100 years ago. Organisers introduced the young rider classification in 1976, won by Alfio Vandi.