Furlan gives Lampre a Tour boost

Lampre had a relatively quiet Giro d'Italia but Angelo Furlan has given them reason to celebrate with a stage win at the Dauphiné ahead of Tom Boonen. "We've had difficult moments at the Giro but the team has maintained good morale and we've continued to believe that we could win races," said Furlan.

The Italian added that he has learnt patience through his two years experience in France with Crédit Agricole. "I've often said that team saved 10 years of my life because as a sprinter I learnt a new way of riding my bike", he underlined. "The manager [Roger Legeay] was always quiet and the riders were well respected. Their attitude changed my way of thinking. My approach to the sport has become much more relaxed. Crédit Agricole was my dream team."

However, he found it difficult to get another contract at the age of 31. "I had three wins last year," he explained. "Actually, my last win before today's was a ProTour race, a stage at the Tour of Poland. Despite this kind of result, it was hard to find a team. There are two reasons for that - firstly, in Italy, there are many strong riders; if you don't have 10 wins a year, you look like a loser. Secondly, with the general economic difficulties, it's a complex task for the cycling community to find money for the teams."

With Lampre, Furlan retains the chance of riding at the highest level and at the best French races. "I finished 23rd at Paris-Roubaix this year," he said. "But that was with a broken hand at the Tour of Flanders and I was in a breakaway all day. Without the fracture, I could have made the top 10." Now he has an eye on the Tour de France. "This is my next goal. I have to get selected first but maybe after today's win I am... To win a stage at the Tour de France would be a dream come true."

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