His last place in the prologue at the Tour de Romandie only told part of the story of Ian Boswell's ride; the Team Sky climber is still recovering from a heavy fall at the Tour of the Alps, but is suffering through the pain in order to prepare for his personal goal of the season, the Tour of California.
The American climber surfed home in the prologue over a minute down on stage winner Fabio Felline, his left elbow still heavily strapped. No bones were broken as a result of his high-speed crash on the final stage of the Tour of the Alps, but at the start of stage 2 in Romandie, Boswell was still moving gingerly as he rode off to warm up.
"I'm still a bit sore but that's how it goes. It's good to be here and everything was going well at the Tour of the Alps. I was preparing well for the Tour of California, but then I had a spill on the last day, at high speed. I'm just glad to be here and getting in the miles," he told Cyclingnews.
Boswell's season has been designed around peaking for the Tour of California in May. He is set to lead the team's GC aspirations there for the first time before turning his attention to breaking into Team Sky's super-competitive Tour de France squad. Before those two race objectives, Boswell is remaining focused on the short-term – totting up the miles in Switzerland and performing well on the key mountain stage this Saturday.
"By then I hope to be back to 100 per cent. Physically, my legs are fine. It's just technical stuff with my elbow that's challenging," he said.
"For California, it's not like I'm a proven winner so I won't have the team on the front from stage 1. We have some cards to play, and Tao [Geoghegan Hart] is riding well this year. It's a race that I'm targeting, but it doesn't mean that we're going to ride in defence - more that we just give it a go on the Baldy stage and then have a good time trial."
A strong ride in the Tour of California would do Boswell's Tour de France ambitions no harm at all, and the long-list for July is ever changing. Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas are set to ride the Giro, meaning their Tour de France condition is difficult to predict. Long-standing injuries or illness to both Wout Poels and Beñat Intxausti mean that Chris Froome's eight teammates are a long way from being anointed.
"It's hard to make the Tour squad on Sky, but it's not that I'm definitely not on the Tour squad," said Boswell. "If I have a good California then I could take a slot, but it's difficult because you miss the altitude camps as well and the prep with the Dauphiné. It's always a last-minute call. They were my goals at the start of the year - California and then ride the Tour. They're not always compatible, but I can just do my best."
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