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Danielson heads to Roc d'Azur

Tom Danielson (Garmin - Slipstream).

Tom Danielson (Garmin - Slipstream). (Image credit: JF Quenet)

Garmin-Slipstream's Tom Danielson will be spending a little time getting dirty this weekend. The American professional road racer is travelling to the Roc d'Azur in France, where he will participate in some of the non-competitive, organized mountain bike rides.

Danielson is not planning to race. Instead, the weekend will be all about riding for fun.

"I'd like to race it, but I'm going to do the Giro di Lombardia next, and I'm just coming off some broken ribs at the Vuelta a Espana, so racing probably isn't the best idea," said Danielson to Cyclingnews from the airport as he prepared to travel to Europe.

Danielson lives in Durango, Colorado, a well-known destination among mountain bikers. Last month, Durango hosted the Singlespeed World Championships. The Garmin rider had heard about the Roc d'Azur from another Durango legend, former mountain bike pro Ned Overend. "I'm excited to check it out," said Danielson.

"Racing the Roc d'Azur is on my list for the future," said Danielson. "Mountain biking is one of my favorite off-season activities. I grew up mountain bike racing, and it's a passion of mine. I'd love to do some races again... maybe if my season ever ends sooner..."

It will be Danielson's first time at Roc d'Azur, a multi-day festival of racing and non-competitive events and expos. Elite racers will compete in a marathon on Friday, October 9, and in cross country races over the weekend, October 10-11. Amateur races and rides are scheduled from Wednesday through Sunday.

Racing mountain bikes for what little is left of the 2009 season is out of the question for Danielson, though.

"With my racing calendar, I've been racing (on the road) since the beginning of February," said Danielson. "The Giro di Lombardia isn't until the end of October, and then I will have to let my body recover given that it's such a long season."

Danielson will be riding a new mountain bike from his road bike sponsor Felt while he's at the Roc d'Azur.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.