On the eve of the Giro d'Italia Jonathan Vaughters was putting the finishing touches to his Garmin-Slipstream team's preparations for Saturday's 20.5km team time trial, the team's first major goal of the season.
The team arrived in Italy on Wednesday after a week of time trial-specific training at its European base in Gerona, Spain, and according Vaughters, the riders are raring to go. "Our season starts on Saturday and it's our first major objective of the year. Okay, we've done the Classics and had good performances in those races and the Tour of California, but now it's the time really perform. We need to be at our best game," Vaughters told Cyclingnews from the team's hotel.
With the race presentation now out of the way, Vaughters will be fine tuning his riders' form and knowledge of the course before the big day. "We won't know how well the team are really going until Saturday but everyone is in good spirits. We're riding a fair amount and making sure that all the details are ironed out and the formation is finalised."
The team will rest tomorrow and are scheduled to ride the course early on Saturday, with plans already in place for who will lead the team off the start ramp. "That will be Tyler Farrar's job. To be honest it's a really straightforward course, so it's more important to make sure that everyone is focused and knows what's expected. We'll be reinforcing those key points right up until the start," Vaughters said.
Garmin won the opening team time trial at last year's Giro and have four of that squad lining up with Christian Vande Velde and David Millar down as two of the team's biggest engines. "We have Bradley Wiggins too and he's part of the plan as well, but it's really about every rider sacrificing everything for the team and not leaving anything in the tank."
Vaughters refused to confirm who would lead the Argyle-clad squad over the finish line. "The guys will know who is the strongest and whoever that is on the day should be first. Who it is doesn't really matter. We just need to make sure we do the last kilometre as fast as we possibly can."
Garmin will face stiff opposition: "Outside of us I think Liquigas and Columbia will ride well. Also Barloworld have good potential but there are a few teams who can rise to the occasion."