Svein Tuft (SpiderTech p/b C10) is unsure of his form heading into the Amgen Tour of California after a successful spring block of racing overseas ended with ill health. The Canadian National Time Trial Champion is however targeting a strong performance in the stage six 24km time trial held in Solvang on May 20.
"Physically Svein had a great spring in Europe," said Josee Larocque of SpiderTech p/b C10. "He raced very consistently with fourth place at the Three Days of West Flanders time trial. He finished the spring campaign with a solid Tour of Turkey, but unfortunately retired from the last stage due to a fever. Svein has been working on getting his good health back ever since."
Tuft is a six-time national time trial champion and is best known for securing a silver medal at the UCI World Time Trial Championships in 2008. Though the virus has impacted his Tour of California build-up, Tuft and the team are both positive that the Canadian can still ride well.
"We are certain that Svein is motivated to race the Amgen Tour of California and we are convinced of his capability in this race," Larocque said.
"However we cannot predict how good Svein will be due to his recent virus. We are optimistic, but we cannot be confident."
Tuft has reviewed the challenging time trial course in the quaint Danish town of Solvang. He has had some success at the Amgen Tour of California in the past placing ninth in the opening prologue and twentieth in the individual time trial in 2009.
"Svein has been setting his goals on that stage for sure," Larocque said.
"However, as previously stated we are certainly cautious on how his form is since May 1. We know he has great preparation racing in Europe. It's only the recent health battle that worries us."
SpiderTech p/b C10 has put together a well-rounded team that also includes climbers Lucas Euser, Ryan Anderson and Canadian Road National Champion Will Routely along with fast men Keven Lacombe, Martin Gilbert and all-rounders Zach Bell and Pat McCarty.
"As with any bike race we're aiming to win a stage, but we stay conservative in our aspirations," Larocque said.
"A podium will be success. Pat McCarty and Lucas Euser are both riding very well at the moment. Pat in particular was strong in Tour of Turkey and for them both we predict they will challenge the peloton on the tough stages and go for the breakaways. Pat was instrumental in securing David Boily's climber jersey in Giro di Sardegna. You can expect him to be ready."
The Amgen Tour of California begins on the 15th of May.