Vandborg back in the big league with Liquigas

By Kirsten Robbins in Solvang, California Brian Vandborg has had his share of ups and downs during...

By Kirsten Robbins in Solvang, California

Brian Vandborg has had his share of ups and downs during his five years as a professional, but the Danish rider is back in the ProTour after a year spent with a continental squad in his home country. He is now looking forward to a season of working with Ivan Basso, his former teammate at CSC.

In 2006, Vandborg had a breakthrough performance at the world championships time trial, placing fourth after holding the fastest time for much of the day. He signed a two-year contract with the Discovery Channel team, but when that squad folded at the end of 2007, his career came to a virtual standstill.

"I supposedly had a two-year contract with Discovery, and I didn't have my best year but I thought I did OK. Then the team stopped and so did my contract," Vandborg told Cyclingnews

The team ended after failing to find a replacement sponsor in August of 2007, rather late in the year for starting new contract negotiations. "That was a tough time to find a new team for last year. So I was riding on a Danish continental team, and it was kind of hard for me to stay motivated."

Vandborg rode with Basso at CSC from 2004-2006, and then again for the brief period in 2007 when the Italian was also on the Discovery Channel team. He was able to use the connection with Basso to get a contract on the Italian's Liquigas squad. "I've been on teams with Ivan for three-and-a-half years, and he knows what I stand for. He knows that I'm loyal and that if I have a job to do I will do it."

His work for Basso ended on Friday however, when the Italian dropped out of the Tour of California after injuring his knee in the warm-up for the time trial (see above).

Vandborg, a time trial specialist, said he wanted to do something special in Solvang, but was not feeling up to it. "I wanted to go as hard as I can – it's a Danish city and I'm from Denmark, but I just cruised it. I'm having some asthma troubles – the rain made all that happen.

"It was better to just try and recover and hopefully do something over the following two days."

He finished in 49th place, 2:35 behind stage winner and overall leader Levi Leipheimer, and was his team's second top finisher behind Vincenzo Nibali, who placed 28th.

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