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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Xavier Tondo (Andalucía-Cajasur)
Spaniard happy with “dream” racing calendar with Classics and Giro
Xavier Tondo is planning to ride his first Giro d'Italia in 2010, to help support Cervelo TestTeam captain Carlos Sastre. The 31-year-old Spaniard is joining the Swiss-based team after having ridden for various Professional and Continental-ranked Spanish teams, most recently for Andalucia-Cajasur.
The 31-year-old told Marca.com, "I am more than satisfied with the planning the team has prepared for me. And I'm really looking forward to the Giro. I know I will go to Italy with one goal: to work for Carlos Sastre. But for me that's not a problem. For me, it is an honour and a motivation."
The Giro will not be Tondo's first Grand Tour. He rode the Vuelta a Espana this year, as his team's captain. He dropped out during the 14th stage, still suffering from injuries suffered in the mass crash at the end of the fourth stage into Liege.
Tondo will start his season in February with the Tour of Qatar before going on to such major races as Paris-Nice, Volta a Catalunya, Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, as a build-up to the Giro.
"My signing with Cervelo was with precisely this goal: to ride the big races on the calendar. And if I am offered such races as Paris-Nice, the Classics, the Giro, then I cannot have any grounds for complaint. The schedule I have is the one I have always dreamed of."
His race calendar so far only goes up through the Giro, with the rest to be planned later, after an analysis of his performance to date. "In principle we talk about doing the Giro and Vuelta,. But then we preferred to focus only on the Giro, and when it is done, we'll think about what could be the next challenges."
Tondo had two victories in 2009, winning stages in the Tour de San Luis and the Vuelta a Andalucia, finishing second overall in the latter race. He had a number of top 10 finishes in both stages and stage races, and also finished second overall in the Vuelta a Burgos.