Garmin U23 rider joining ProTour team next season
USA's Peter Stetina has his eyes on the Tour de France, the 2011 edition. The 22-year-old, who will move up from the Garmin-Slipstream Under 23 team to the ProTour team next year, wants to win a Grand Tour someday.
He hopes to ride either the Giro d'Italia or the Vuelta a España in 2010, "to get one in my legs. It doesn't matter to me which one, they're all awesome," he told Cyclingnews.
This year has gone well so far for him. "I have won races and shown I can compete with the best in the USA, and around the world when I am on form."
Stetina raced against Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer in the Tour of the Gila. He was second overall for most of the race, behind Leipheimer. He lost his place on the last stage when he became sick.
"It was a huge boost for my confidence and to show others what I can do," he said. "Gila is one of my favourite races and to have Lance and co. there made something turn from good to great."
He hopes that one of the two riders or teammate Christian Vande Velde will win this year's Tour de France, July 4 to 26. "I'd like to see an American take it."
Stetina took the confidence gained from racing against Tour challengers to the Ronde d l'Isard the end of May. He won the opening stage of the race.
"I'd been so close so many times, it was the fruition of finally putting all the pieces together and it paid off."
He was sick again at the Tour de Beauce, where he called himself "pack fill", although he finished 19th overall. He took a short racing break and will return to action this weekend with the Firecracker MTB marathon. He will follow it with local events, Mt Evans and mountain bike nationals, in the coming weeks.
The rest of the year includes the Cascade Classic, Under 23 nationals, Tour of Utah, L'Avenir and the world championships.
Stetina said his strengths are climbing, time trialling and stage races. He wants to be a challenger for the overall in stage races in the coming years. "I think that's where JV [Garmin manager Jonathan Vaughters] sees me heading too, so we're on the same page."
His ultimate goals in cycling are "to get the most out of myself that I can. To know I did everything I could to be the best I can be, hopefully that includes winning a Grand Tour."