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Di Luca's aims to limit time trial losses

Danilo Di Luca tipped Klöden to win

Danilo Di Luca tipped Klöden to win (Image credit: AFP)

Winner of the 2007 Giro d'Italia, Danilo Di Luca, is prepared to march towards victory. The 32 year-old Italian from Pescara, currently fourth in the classification, faces a demanding time trial Tuesday and mountainous two weeks to follow. Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown was in Pesaro to hear what 'The Killer' had to say of the Corsa Rosa thus far and what's to come.

Danilo Di Luca aims to be the first rider in 15 years to score back to back wins in the Giro d'Italia, a feat not equalled since Spain's Miguel Indurain did the double in 1992-93. To do so, Di Luca must limit his losses in Tuesday's time trial, an event in which he freely admits that he is not the strongest rider. Instead, he tipped German Andreas Klöden (Astana) to take the win in the 39.4 kilometre test.

"It is a not just a difficult time trial course – it's extremely difficult," Di Luca said at the rest day press conference in Pesaro. "The first 19 kilometres are fitted to the specialists, whereas the finale will be adapted to the climbers, like me."

Although feeling that the course was challenging, he predicted that this would not translate to big time gaps. "I think it will be Klöden," Di Luca said, predicting the winner, "but I think that the time differences by the day's end will be smaller than what they [Team Astana] are expecting." While the Italian has improved his abilities in this discipline over the past few years, he said, "I aim to lose no more than 90 seconds to Klöden."

Di Luca has waded through some murky swamps to arrive at the 91st edition of Italy's Grand Tour. The first southerner to win the Giro was faced with two doping investigations over the winter; he successfully fended off the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) allegations of plasma injections following the 2007 stage to Monte Zoncolan all the while serving a three-month suspension for his relations to Doctor Carlo Santuccione (Oil for Drugs). Over the winter, he has changed teams from Liquigas to LPR Brakes, and has Giro backing from the likes of two-time Giro d'Italia champion Paolo Savoldelli, stage winner Gabriele Bosisio, Daniele Pietropolli and close mate Alessandro Spezialetti.

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