I heard that some riders are already back on their bikes and training for the 2011 season. But I don’t want to even see a bike for a while yet.
I finished my season at the Tour of Lombardy and the last time I touched my bike was when I gave it to the mechanic after the race. That was two and half weeks ago but I haven’t been on holiday yet because Katusha had a get-together immediately after Lombardy and I also went to the Tour de France presentation.
At the weekend I went for the annual trip to pick olives with some of the guys I go training with near my home in Sandrigo and it was also my fan club's annual dinner. A lot of eating and drinking went on, and now is the right time for it.
I've been hanging out in Monaco this week and I'm heading to Valencia in Spain to watch the last Moto GP race of the season, thanks to a special invitation from Valentino Rossi. After that I'm off on holiday. I'm going to Bali for two weeks with some friends, with a few days in Singapore on the way there.
108 days of racing
I can't wait because it's been a long season. I started at the Tour of Qatar in February and I've calculated that I had 108 days of racing this season. I did 102 last year and thought that was a lot but this year was tougher because of the world championships in Australia.
I know people will immediately say 'You raced a lot but you didn’t win much'. That's true, I know that and accept that. I only won a stage in the Giro d'Italia, the Ballerini Memorial race and the pre-worlds Herald Sun World Cycling Classic. But I'm satisfied with my season. A rider of my calibre should win more but I was always up there in the results during the season and I was especially proud of my third place in Paris-Roubaix and of my fourth in the world championships. People tend to forget about results like that but they mean you rode well and were pretty close to getting a huge result.
I was unlucky to be ill during the cobbled classics and so miss the Tour of Flanders, but I'm confident in my own ability. I'm going to keep training and racing hard in 2011 and know that things will go my way in the future.
No need for Cipollini
I get a lot of criticism in the Italian press but that's partly because these days only me, Basso and now Nibali are the big names in the sport. People seem to like taking shots at me but as I said in my first ever blog, 'Only God can judge me'. So I just brush off the criticism and hold my head up high.
Some people think that I need Mario Cipollini at Katusha to help me, that he will somehow toughen me up and suddenly help me win more. I've nothing against Cipollini and it's not up to me to decide who works at Katusha team, but I know he won't help me win anymore. And I think Andrei Tchmil knows that too.
Because it's the end of the season I thought I'd pick my favourite moments of the season and the best performances I've seen out on the road.
Personally I think riding for Italy at the world championship was my best moment of the season. I was the captain but wasn't affected by the pressure and the Italian team was really tight. The result wasn't what we hoped for but we dissected how we rode for 90 minutes the evening after the race and we know we raced well as a team, especially compared to other major nations like Spain and Belgium. We laid the foundations for a new team for the next few years and it was a perfect way of continuing what Franco Ballerini would have wanted.
I was impressed by how Hushovd won the world title. The race went his way and everything came back perfectly for him but he pulled out a great sprint and is a good world champion.
Gilbert was also amazing, at the worlds and in the sprint and at Lombardy, while Cancellara was unbeatable in the cobbled classics. It'll be interesting to see if he will be equally as good in 2011 without Riis there to guide him. I was pleased that Basso won the Giro and Vincenzo Nibali really stepped it up a level by winning the Vuelta. People have said that Italian cycling is in a crisis but we've won two of the grand tours.
Hopefully I can help end our two-year run of poor results in the classics in 2011.
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