By Gregor Brown in Passo Fedaia
Slipstream's Christian Vande Velde is saving his bullets for the next shoot out of the 91st Giro d'Italia. The 32 year-old American rider wore the race leader's maglia rosa for the first day of the tour and showed well again in stage 14 by making the main escape of the day, but now is looking forward to Varese.
"I hunted for a stage, and the end of the day I also had a chance at the jersey," recalled Vande Velde at the start of stage 15, in Arabba's Piazzale Funivia. He was captured on the day's finale up the Alpe di Pampeago.
"I shot off a bunch of bullets to be in the move anyway - we were going so hard initially to form the escape. There were a lot of guys who wanted to get in and there were a lot of guys who did not make it because we were going so damn fast up that hill [Cerro Veronese - ed.]. It was an awesome and it was pretty cool to be apart of it because we were just flying."
He planned on having an "easy" day through Sunday's Dolomite stage to Passo Fedaia. "I know that today is really hard," said Vande Velde. "I don't want to absolutely destroy myself; it has already been a long spring, and I went pretty deep yesterday, so, from now one I will take it as the day goes."
Vande Velde, winner of the 2006 Tour de Luxembourg, would not mind being lower in the overall rankings so that he is allowed some freedom for a stage win. He is eyeing the stage that starts and ends on world championship circuits.
"It will help my chances to have a 'day off' so to speak," added Vande Velde. "There are couple of lumpy days. ... The Varese day, that is going to be really hard. It is on both worlds circuits [starts on Mendrisio 2009 and ends on Varese 2008 circuit - ed.]. That will be a great stage and to pull something off in that stage would be really neat."