By Shane Stokes
American rider Tom Danielson has put a difficult couple of seasons behind him and appears to have his career back on track.
The 31-year-old Garmin-Slipstream rider starts the Vuelta a País Vasco on Monday feeling good about his form, and looking on course to do both the Giro d'Italia and make his debut in the Tour de France. This week is largely about building his condition and working towards those targets.
"The goal is to be strong and go fast," he said, when asked about his aim for the Spanish event. "As I remember it, this is a very hard race so I will have to stay relaxed and give everything I have each day.
"My form is coming along nicely. March was really a building month for me after a good Tour of California. I'm working hard to put together a solid performance at the Giro that will lead me to be ready for the team at the Tour. I want to be solid in time trialing and climbing so I've been putting in a lot of hard work on the bike the last month."
Danielson has been showing decent form since the start of the season. He was ninth overall in the Tour of California, and was also ninth in the individual time trial at the recent Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.
For a rider who had a couple of years hampered by illness and injury, it's clear that his confidence is returning. "I feel I am on track," he said. "I have done a good job showing myself in the results, as well as being there for my teammates. My time trialing is also gradually improving so I am excited to see where that is in a month [for the Giro]. It will need to be good as I will be amongst some fast guys in the time trials."
He will be joined by teammates Dave Zabriskie, Danny Pate, Daniel Martin, Blake Caldwell, Timothy Duggan, Ryder Hesjedal and Trent Lowe in the Vuelta a País Vasco, a six-day ProTour event.