After two brilliant performances in Sunday's Stage 8 time trial at the Giro d'Italia, where Dave Zabriskie won the stage and Ivan Basso finished second, Team CSC got a relatively easy ride before today's rest day in Ravenna, as the second - and ultimately decisive - phase of the race awaits.
"We let the other teams do most of the work today. Instead, we concentrated on looking after Ivan [Basso] in the peloton, and we only took the lead for a short while in order to prevent any of our riders getting involved in a crash. The team really got a confidence boost after the time trial, and everyone is ready to take their turn, when necessary," said sports director Alain Gallopin on the team's website, www.team-csc.com, shortly after the conclusion of Stage 9.
"After the rest day, we enter the second phase of the Giro, which includes several difficult stages, but after yesterday's success [Stage 8], it's hard not to be optimistic," he said.
Over in Spain, the team finished 20th out of 23 teams in the opening team trial stage of the Volta a Catalunya, but nevertheless were happy with the return to form of Dane Jakob Pill after an injury-plagued spring.
"Jakob was very strong today, probably our strongest rider, so he's definitely on track for the Tour de France," said sports director Scott Sunderland after the 20 kilometre stage.
Sunderland added that while a ProTour race, the team's priority is clearly on the Giro d'Italia, and with a mixed bag of riders, a number of younger riders will get their chance to play their own cards.
"We can't be good everywhere all year 'round, and some of our riders also need the occasional rest. So it's kind of a mixed line-up we have down here," he said. "Piil and [Carlos] Sastre are returning from injuries, while guys like Lars Michaelsen, Thomas Bruun and Allan Johansen have done all the spring classics. We'll try to win a stage, and I've given Manuel Calvente a free role so he can ride his chance."